Babies with Low Birth Weights
What does this measure?
The proportion of babies born with low birth weights (less than 2,500 grams or about 5.5 pounds) out of all live births.
Why is this important?
Low birth weight is a leading predictor of neonatal death. Low birth weight infants are also more likely than normal birth-weight infants to experience long-term developmental and neurological disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that maternal smoking is the cause of 20% to 30% of all low-weight births in the United States.
How are Cayuga and Seneca counties performing?
In 2011, 7.3% of babies born Cayuga and 7.5% in Seneca counties had low birth weights, slightly better than the state (excluding NYC) rate of 7.8%. The rates in Cayuga generally improved (declined) since a high of 9.3% in 2004 and average 7.1% for the decade. The average for the decade in Seneca was 6.3%. Rates are somewhat unstable, due in part to a low number of low-weight births in the counties. Rates in the four comparison counties ranged from 6.8% in Wayne to 8.1% in Onondaga.
Notes about the data
Rates in Seneca County are considered unstable by the Health Department because they are based upon small numbers, which makes it difficult to distinguish random fluctuation from true changes.