The major indicator for this measure of success is the percent of babies born weighing less than 2500 grams (5.5 pounds).
A healthy birth weight can have short- and long-term implications for a babies’ physical, cognitive, and neurological development, as well as their educational outcomes. Children born weighing less than 2500 grams/5.5 lbs (also known as low birth weight) are more likely to experience neurodevelopmental delays, lower levels of neurodevelopment, and a higher likelihood of grade retention in elementary school. Low birth weight may lead to lower levels of intelligence that can span a person’s life, from young adulthood into midlife.
- Zhang et al_2019_Birthweight and DQ: Study of 4,026 infants aged 1-6 months in Wuhan, China between October 2012 and September 2013. Measured development quotient (DQ), a metric of neurodevelopment, as well as neurodevelopmental delays, as diagnosed by a clinician. Findings showed that low birth weight resulted in a higher likelihood of having a lower DQ, as defined by gross and fine motor skills, and adaptability. The study also found that low birth weight increased the risk of having neurodevelopmental delays across the same measures (gross and fine motor skills and adaptability).
- Mortensen and Flensborg-Madsen_2017_Birth weight and intelligence: Study of 4,696 children born in Copenhagen between 1959 and 1961, followed into their adult lives. Analyzed the relationship between low birth weight and intelligence later in life, as measured by various intelligence scales. Results showed that a higher birth weight was associated with higher intelligence scores, an association that remained stable from young adulthood (ages 19 to 28) into midlife (age 50).
- Temple et al_2010_LBW Preschool Remedial: Study of 1,300 children in Chicago who are primarily low-income and Black/African American. Results found that low birth weight predicted grade retention, particularly for boys.
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