Poverty vs. Low Birth Weights

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Poverty vs. Low Birth Weights

By | June 2005
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Abstract
There exist some evidence that poverty can result in low birth weight in newborn infants. On Prince Edward Island, low birth weights are currently the lowest as compared to the national average according to Statistics Canada. However, the link that exist between poverty and low birth weights leaves unanswered questions as to what can be done to reduce these low birth weights in newborn infants.

The effect of Poverty on Low Birth Weight in Newborns

Receiving good prenatal care is extremely important for an expecting mother. The prenatal period has a great impact on the newborn's health. Low birth weight is a problem among a certain population of newborns. It is crucial to understand the conditions in poverty and its affects on birth weights in infants. "Several communities characteristics associated with poverty are negatively associated with low birth weight" (Roberts, 1997)

In 2000, the PEI Reproductive Care Program, reported that Prince Edward Island had the lowest percentage of low birth weight infant at 4.3% compared to the National average of 5.6%, however there is much taught about the link of low birth weight and poverty.

According to the 2000 study, mothers living in West Prince were the youngest with the highest percentage of birth rates (11.3%), these being women under 20 years of age. This can also be a contributor since young women may not have finished school or post secondary educational therefore resulting in jobs with less income. This weighs on their health care and ability to have the best prenatal care available.

Diet factors can also play a major factor in low birth weights. In a study done comparing Latina women both in the United States and Mexico, showed that Latino women born in Mexico consumed diets richer in calcium, folate, protein, vitamin A and ascorbic acid than Latino women born in the United States who instead ate diets consisting more of high fat foods, sugars and cereals, associated with low birth...