Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Low Birth Weight: Psychosocial Aspects
Kate E. Pickett & James W. Collins Jr.
The health of a society is often judged by the health and well-being of its mothers and infants. Social inequalities in health in the United States are reflected in a high incidence of low birth weight; a much higher rate than seen in other developed nations and not markedly affected by advances in medicine and technology. Low birth weight is a leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity. It also represents an enormous economic cost to society, both in short-term medical costs and long-term loss of human capital. Rates of low birth weight vary greatly among American populations of different race, economic status, and class; in particular, the disparity in low birth weight between African American and White populations is a striking and persistent public health problem. Prevention of low birth weight requires an understanding of factors that cause both fetal growth retardation and shortened gestation . Well-known obstetrical risk ...