Low Birth Weight in Infants

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Low birth weight and preterm infants in ethnic groups are attributed to “unequal distribution of economic and social resources across the diverse set of racial and ethnic groups. Many of the resources and programs available for prenatal care and infant health are too broad and comprehensive that they are not able to meet the unique needs of each specific racial and ethnic group. In addition, factors such as “sociodemographic characteristics, health care access, maternal health status, and health behaviors” influence birth weight disparities among these groups (Sparks, 2009, p. 769). As a result, low birth weight infants are frequently re-hospitalized due to various neonatal morbidities such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus, and necrotizing enterocolitis, and are vulnerable to long-term health problems (Morris, Gard, & Kennedy, 2005). Studies show that families with preterm and low birth weight infants make twice as much hospital visits than those with full term infants. Preterm and low birth weight infants from low-income families often have lower chances of survival because of the immense medical care costs. As these children get older, the increased use and cost of health care services continues as many may experience abnormalities like cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, and subnormal cognitive function (Petrou, Sach, and Davidson, 2000). Those who do not have disabilities often have higher rates of school failure and learning problems, resulting in additional educational assistance or enrollment in special education, which also proves to be costly. Studies also show that parents of these children often avail social services for support of caring for their children. In addition, because these children require more care and attention, parents’ employment may also be affected and may result in reduced fa
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