Low birth weight

Low birth weight (LBW) has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as weight at birth of less than 2500 gm. LBW at birth may be the outcome of either preterm birth (before 37 weeks of gestation) or intrauterine growth restriction (1).
WHO estimates that, globally, out of 139 million live births, more than 20 million LBW babies are born each year, constituting 15.5% of all live births, and nearly 95.6% of them are in developing countries At birth, fetal weight is accepted as the single parameter that is directly related to the health and nutrition of the mother and also it is an important determinant of the chances of the newborn to survive and experience healthy growth and development(3).
LBW contributes substantially to neonatal, infant and childhood mortality and morbidity(4). Every year, about 3ยท8 million deaths occur in babies younger than 28 days, of which, 99% are in the developing world-and deaths in the first month of life account for 42% of deaths in children younger than 5 years(5).
Across the world, neonatal mortality is 20 times more likely for low birth weight babies compared to heavier babies(6).
As children, low birth weight infants, are more likely to have disabilities, poor schooling, hospitalizations, brain damage, poorer language development, be placed in special education classes, and display more intellectual impairments (10,11). Later in life, they are at increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and being in the lower socioeconomic classes (7).