WHO / LOW BIRTHWEIGHT

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15-May-2019 00:03:40
More than 20 million babies were born with a low birthweight (less than 2500g; 5.5 pounds) in 2015 representing around one in seven of all births worldwide. Almost three-quarters of these babies were born in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where data are most limited. WHO

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STORY: WHO / LOW BIRTHWEIGHT
TRT: 3:40
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 15 MAY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Aerial shot, WHO headquarters

15 MAY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, de Onis being interviewed
3. Close up, de Onis holding report
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Mercedes de Onis, Coordinator, Growth Assessment and Surveillance Unit, Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, World Health Organization:
“The study on estimates of low birthweight done for the first time found that more than 20 million newborn babies in 2015 have low birthweight. This means that they were born with a weight below 2.5 kilos which is the definition used for low birthweight.”

FILE - 09 MARCH 2016, EL SALVADOR

5. Wide shot, woman putting baby in incubator
6. Med shot, mother breastfeeding child
7. Close up, mother feeding child

15 MAY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Mercedes de Onis, Coordinator, Growth Assessment and Surveillance Unit, Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, World Health Organization:
“So, a baby can be born too soon, being preterm because it is born before 37 weeks of gestation. Or, it can be born too small because of intrauterine growth retardation. Or, it can be both- born too soon and born too small. And of course, these are the babies at higher risk of negative consequences.”

FILE - 09 MARCH 2016, EL SALVADOR

9. Wide shot, hospital room with incubators
10. Med shot, babies

15 MAY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

11. SOUNDBITE (English) Mercedes de Onis, Coordinator, Growth Assessment and Surveillance Unit, Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, World Health Organization:
“More than 80 percent of the newborns that die every year are low birthweight. Two thirds of those would have been preterm and the other third due to growth retardation. Those that survive also have increased risks for disabilities, for childhood stunting, developmental or behavioural problems, and also in the long term have increased risks for chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.”

FILE - 09 MARCH 2016, EL SALVADOR

12. Med shot, health worker feeding baby in incubator
13. Med shot, mother breastfeeding child
14. Med shot, baby in incubator

15 MAY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

15. SOUNDBITE (English) Mercedes de Onis, Coordinator, Growth Assessment and Surveillance Unit, Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, World Health Organization:
“The study has found that 75% of low birthweight babies are born in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. But also, the problem is substantial in high-income countries in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia.”

FILE- MAY 2005, MALAWI

16. Close up, baby on mother’s chest
17. Wide shot, mothers carrying low weight babies
18. Tilt down, mother carrying baby
19. Close up, baby

15 MAY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

20. SOUNDBITE (English) Mercedes de Onis, Coordinator, Growth Assessment and Surveillance Unit, Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, World Health Organization:
“There are also at the more governmental level situations where smoking rates are very high or adolescent pregnancy, obesity, drug use, increasing rate of non-medically required C-sections or increasing use of fertility treatments because of the increasing age of mums. So, there is a big variety of causes and this is why it is so important to be context specific and identify what are the reasons for the low birth weight and what are the causes in that particular situation.”

FILE - 09 MARCH 2016, EL SALVADOR

21. Wide shot, women at maternal health centre
22. Med shot, doctor examining pregnant mother
23. Wide shot, women at maternal health centre
24. Med shot, doctor examining pregnant mother

STORYLINE:

More than 20 million babies were born with a low birthweight (less than 2500g; 5.5 pounds) in 2015 representing around one in seven of all births worldwide. Almost three-quarters of these babies were born in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where data are most limited.

However, the problem also remains substantial in high-income countries in Europe, North America, and Australia and New Zealand, where there has been virtually no progress in reducing low birthweight rates since 2000, according to a new analysis undertaken by researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization (WHO), involving 148 countries and 281 million births, published in The Lancet Global Health journal.

In 2012, all 195 member states of the WHO committed to a 30 percent reduction in low birthweight prevalence by 2025, compared with 2012 rates. The estimates, which are the first of their kind, found that worldwide low birthweight prevalence fell slightly from 17.5% in 2000 (22.9 million low birthweight livebirths) to 14.6% in 2015 (20.5 million).

However, the study indicates that at the current rate of progress—with a 1.2% yearly decline in low birthweight rates between 2000 and 2015—the world will fall well short of the annual reduction rate of 2.7% required to meet the WHO target of a 30% reduction in prevalence between 2012 and 2025.

These findings highlight the urgent need for more investment and action to accelerate progress, through understanding and tackling key drivers of low birthweight throughout life—including extremes of maternal age, multiple pregnancy, obstetric complications, chronic maternal conditions (eg, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy), infections (eg, malaria), and nutritional status, as well as exposure to environmental factors such as indoor air pollution, and tobacco and drug use. In low-income countries, poor growth in the womb is a major cause of low birthweight. In more developed regions, low birthweight is often associated with prematurity (a baby born earlier than 37 weeks gestation).

The study authors call for international action to ensure that all babies are weighed at birth, to improve clinical care, and to promote public health action on the causes of low birthweight to reduce death and disability.

More than 80% of the world’s 2.5 million newborns who die every year are low birthweight because they are either born preterm and/or small for gestational age. Low birthweight babies who survive have a greater risk of stunting, and developmental and physical ill health later in life, including chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In this study, the researchers performed a comprehensive search of the available data from national government databases and national surveys to estimate prevalence and track trends on low birthweight for livebirths in 148 countries from 2000 to 2015. In total, data were collated from over 281 million births. However, the authors note that 47 countries (including 40 low- and middle-income countries that account for almost quarter of all births worldwide) had insufficient data available.

One of the lowest rates of low birthweight in 2015 was estimated in Sweden (2.4%). This compares to around seven percent in some high-income countries including the USA (8%), the UK (7%), Australia (6.5%), and New Zealand (5.7%).

The regions making the fastest progress are those with the highest numbers of low birthweight babies, Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, with a yearly decline in low birthweight prevalence of 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively, between 2000 and 2015.

Nevertheless, the overall number of low birthweight livebirths has actually increased in sub-Saharan Africa from 4.4 million to 5 million babies, largely due to demographic trends (such as fertility and migration). Similarly, Southern Asia still has almost half of the world’s low birthweight livebirths, with an estimated 9.8 million in 2015.

High-income countries in North America, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand are some of the slowest progressing countries with an average reduction in prevalence of 0.01% per year and a consistent rate of low birthweight of 7 percent per year between 2000 and 2015.
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WHO
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unifeed190515h
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2394232