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Resources by Topic

Low Birth Weight / Prematurity

Premature baby

This page features all PPN content on the topic of low birth weight and prematurity, including program summaries, issue briefs, expert perspectives, and additional resources and tools that provide evidence-based information on what works for children and families.

Programs that Work
PPN Issue Brief
Expert Perspectives
Additional Resources

Programs that Work

These programs are related to the indicator for babies born weighing more than 5.5 pounds and improving outcomes for low birth weight babies.

Proven Programs

Healthy Families New York (HFNY)

Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP)

Nurse Family Partnership

Promising Programs

Healthy Start

Parents as Teachers

Proven / Promising Programs

Infant Health and Development Program

PPN Issue Brief

Promising Practices for Preventing Low Birth Weight

Premature baby with nurse
Low birth weight is associated with worse outcomes over the entire life course. Lower birth weight babies are more likely to die in the first year of life and suffer from chronic health conditions, as well as compromised cognitive development. The disadvantage from low birth weight persists into adulthood, where it is associated with lower scores on IQ tests at age 18, lower educational attainment, and lower incomes. The percentage of births that are low birth weight is one of the most widely used indicators of population-level health around the globe, and reducing LBW is a common public health policy objective. This summary provides a concise overview of research-based information related to preventing low birth weight.

Read moreRead the Issue Brief

Expert Perspectives

Low Birth Weight Prevention

Premature baby in hospital
Low birth weight (LBW) infants are those that are born weighing less than 5.5 pounds. Research shows that low birth weight infants face higher rates of infant mortality, developmental challenges, and long-term disabilities. The prevention of low birth weight infants is a serious public health challenge, and recent data suggest that the rate of LBW infants born in the United States has reached its highest level in almost 30 years. In this Expert Perspectives feature, three leading experts on child and maternal health answered visitors' questions on the topic of preventing low birth weight.

Read moreRead the responses

Additional Resources

The additional resources found on this page come from other credible websites that PPN has reviewed for quality and relevance, including links to databases, fact sheets, screening tools, seminal reports, and a variety of other resources that are among the best research-based materials available on children and families.

Reports, Briefs and Other Publications

Healthy Women, Healthy Babies

This issue brief from Trust for America's Health demonstrates the link between maternal health and infant mortality, in the context of infant mortality rates that have remained stagnant since 2000.

Preterm Birth: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention

This report from the Institute of Medicine highlights the causes and consequences of the dramatic increase in preterm births in the past two decades, including the social ramifications of preterm birth, which disproportionately affect African American women.

Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care

This Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR April 21, 2006 / Vol. 55 / No. RR-6) provides guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control on how to improve preconception health and health care.

Low Birth Weight Journal Articles

This issue of the Future of Children Journal (Volume 5, Number 1 - Spring 1995) has 14 interdisciplinary articles about issues related to Low Birth Weight, authored by experts in the field. The Future of Children Journal is published twice per year, with each issue focusing on a topic related to children.

Databases and Tools

KIDS COUNT Data on Low Birth Weight Babies

KIDS COUNT, a national and state effort funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, tracks the status of children in the U.S. and publishes a national data book each year. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.

State Health Data and Maps

Statehealthfacts.org is a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and is designed to provide free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data on all 50 states. Statehealthfacts.org provides data on more than 500 health topics and is linked to both the Kaiser Family Foundation website (www.kff.org) and KaiserNetwork.org (www.kaisernetwork.org).

See state data tables and maps at statehealthfacts.org:

Fact Sheets

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007—Low Birthweight

This childstats.gov fact sheet provides information related to epidemiological trends in low birth weight. Childstats.gov is a project of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of Federal agencies that collect, analyze, and report data on issues related to children and families.

Quick Reference Fact Sheets: Low Birthweight

This fact sheet, from the March of Dimes, provides answers to important questions about the causes, consequences, and treatments for babies born with low birth weight.