Low birthweight (LBW) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as body weight less than 2,500 g at birth based on epidemiological observations that infants with a birthweight less than 2,500 g are 20 times more likely to die than 'heavier' babies . Moreover, according to the WHO, a birthweight below 2,500 g contributes to poor health outcomes. Worldwide, the incidence of LBW is estimated to be 15.5% with a range from 7 to 18.6% based on more developed, less developed and least developed countries. In addition to discussing causes and consequences of LBW, this chapter will discuss specific nutrients that need particular attention in this cohort of infants: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, iron, copper, zinc and issues related to feeding these infants including the use of human milk. Since LBW is an important public health indicator of long-term maternal malnutrition, maternal health, poor prenatal care and, in addition, poses significant challenges in feeding and growth, this large population, globally, deserves particular attention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics