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Reducing low birth weight: prioritizing action to address modifiable risk factors

Johnson, Christopher D., Jones, Siobhan and Paranjothy, Shantini ORCID: 2017. Reducing low birth weight: prioritizing action to address modifiable risk factors. Journal of Public Health 39 (1) , pp. 122-131. 10.1093/pubmed/fdv212

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Background Low birth weight (LBW) affects 6.9% of all UK births and has remained largely unchanged for many years. The United Nations and theWorld Health Assembly have set targets to substantially reduce global incidence. Understanding the contribution of modifiable risk factors to the burden of LBW is required to ensure appropriate interventions are in place to achieve this reduction. Methods Data from published studies on the risks from key modifiable factors were used alongside prevalence data from theWelsh population to calculate the population attributable risk for each factor individually and in combination. Results Fourteen risk factors accounted for nearly half of LBW births, and 60% of those to younger mothers (,25 years). Tobacco smoke exposure was the largest contributor.We estimated that smoking in pregnancy was a factor in one in eight LBW births, increasing to one in five for women aged under 25. Conclusions Risk factors are interrelated and inequitably distributed within the population. Exposure to one factor increases the likelihood of exposure to a constellation of factors further increasing risk. Action to address LBW must consider groups where the risk factors are most prevalent and address these risk factors together using multi-component interventions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Additional Information: First published online: February 16, 2016 This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1741-3842
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 5 January 2016
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 19:10

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