One in seven children worldwide is too easy at birth
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According to a recent estimate, the number of underweight children decreases only very slowly. As a result, in 2015, around 20.5 million children worldwide weigh less than 2500 grams at birth.
JA seventh child in the world is too light, according to a study at birth. More than 20 million newborns were born in 2015 with a birth weight of less than 2500 grams – this was one in seven newborns, according to a study published Thursday by the London Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, by UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization (WHO) for 148 countries in "The Lancet Global Health" magazine.
Three quarters of these children were born in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, according to the study. But even in the rich countries of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, there has been little progress since 2000 in reducing the percentage of births with low birth weight.
Risk of illness later in life
More than 80% of the approximately 2.5 million newborns who die each year, according to the study, have a low birth weight – either because they were born prematurely or because they were too young. Children with low birth weight are therefore at greater risk of developmental disability and later of life-related diseases, including chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
In 2012, the 195 member states of the WHO decided to reduce the percentage of low birth weight births by 30 percent by 2025. According to Unicef, the new estimates show a slight drop in the worldwide frequency of low birth weight from 17.5% in 2000 (22.9 million births) to 14.6% in 2015 (20.5 million).
Recommended educational campaigns
In poorer countries, inappropriate growth in the uterus is the most common cause of low birth weight, the study says. In more developed regions, this is often associated with premature birth before the 37th week of pregnancy.
The authors of the study required worldwide weighing and better care for each child immediately after birth. Health actions such as educational campaigns should address the causes of low birth weight.
Share in Germany at 6.6 percent
The data were evaluated at 281 million births. One of the lowest percentages of children with low birth weight was estimated in Sweden (2.4%). In industrialized countries, the total share was 7%, including Germany (6.6%), England (seven percent) and the United States (eight percent).
South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are making progress. The percentage of affected newborns decreased by 1.4 and 1.1%, respectively, between 2000 and 2015.
However, mainly due to population growth, the number of low birth weight children in sub-Saharan Africa has increased from 4.4 million to 5 million children. In South Asia, most children with low birth weight were born in 2015 (8.8 million).
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