HealthProportion of Babies with Low Birth Weight
Significance• Canada has seen an increase in low birth weight babies in the last decade.• Not only can this have negative implications for the health care system and the families affected, but it can have long-term implications for low birth weight babies who have a higher risk of health and developmental problems later on.
Core Indicator• Low birth weight babies are usually the result of poor nutrition, smoking, and drinking during pregnancy.• The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) recorded a growing proportion of babies born with low birth weight in Canada (see following chart) between 2001/2002 and 2009/2010.
Proportion of Babies Born with Low Birth Weight in Canada, April 1 2001/March 31 2002 to April 1 2010/March 31 2011 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.0 5.9 5.8 5.7 5.6 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010Source: CIHI, Discharge Abstract and Hospital Morbidity databaseshttps://secure.cihi.ca/estore/productSeries.htm?pc=PCC226 .
Canada vs. OECD Countries• Although the proportion of babies with low birth weight has increased, Canada still has a relatively low proportion when compared to other countries who are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (see following chart).• Canada, tied with Denmark, had the fifth lowest low birth weight rate among the twenty OECD countries, at 6.1%.
Proportion of Babies Born with Low Birth Rate for OECD Countries, 200912.010.0 8.0 6.0 4.0 2.0 0.0 Source: OECD Stats, OECD Health Data acquired from national statistics departments.
Canada’s Major CMAs• In 2010/2011 the proportion of babies with low birth weight in most of Canada’s major census metropolitan areas (CMAs) tended to hover around the national average (6.2%).• The range was from 5.6 percent in Sudbury to 7.8 % in Calgary, representing a gap of 2.2 percentage points (see following chart).• Toronto had the second highest rate at 7.3 %, followed by Kingston at 6.8 %.
Proportion of Babies with Low Birth Weight in Major CMAs, April 2010/March 31 20118.06.04.02.00.0 Source: CIHI, Discharge Abstract and Hospital Morbidity databases.
CMA Trends (2000 to 2011)• The proportion of babies with low birth weight has increased in almost all major CMAs between 2001/2002 and 2009/2010 (see following chart).• Sudbury was the only exception, with a decrease of 0.1 percentage point.• The highest increase was in Kingston. The rate increased 1.4 % from 5.4% in 2001/2002 to 6.8% in 2010/2011.
Percentage Point Increase in Low Birth Weight Rates in Major CMAs, April 1 2001/March 31 2002 to April 1 1.6 20`0/March 31 2011 1.2 0.8 0.4 0.0 -0.4Source: CIHI, Discharge Abstract and Hospital Morbidity databases.