Have you ever wondered why CAHS´Kids Count Data Book includes information on low birth weight babies? As you probably know, this is an indicator of the health of the mother during pregnancy, and has a strong effect on child development.
How strong? The New York Times published on Sunday a review of a new study linking birth weight and school achievement, and the results are striking. On average a 10 pound baby will score 80 points higher on the 1,600 point SAT than a 6 pound one. This is the difference between being quite a bit below the median (6-pound babies score in the 43rd percentile) or above it (10-pound babies score on average in the 57th).
Poor neonatal health, then, is crucial not just during pregnancy, but has long term cognitive effects. You can find the full study here.
CAHS will release the 2012 Kids Count data book April 30th at 1 pm in an event at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Join us!
Low birth weight is strongly associated with infant mortality. It is usually the result ofeither premature birth (before 37 weeks of gestation) or fetal growth restriction. Kids Count tracks this indicator as it is closely relates to infant mortality and is strongly related to the quality and access to medical care of the mother during pregnancy. Low income women are at a greater risk of facing this issue, so town-by-town disparities are usually large.
What we have found in the numbers is a tale of regional disparities. The percentage of low birth weight kids have gone up in some counties from 2007 to 2009 (Fairfield, New Haven) but has dropped in some areas (Lichfield, Middesex, Hartford). Town by town differences are still significant, however, with inner cities having consistently higher averages than their region.
We will release data points from the book and analysis in the coming days. The full report includes town by town data for several indicators, and will be available for download after the event.