Purpose of Study
The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the relationship between the full birth weight distribution and prevalence of specific developmental disabilities and related measures of health and the use of special education services by US children.
The researchers in this study collected and used data from the 1997-2005 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for this research analysis. The NHIS is conducted annually and is a multistage probability sample survey of the US civilian, non-institutionalized population. Basic demographic and health information was collected during an in-person interview. The Sample Child Core questionnaire obtained information on the health of one randomly selected child is provided by a knowledgeable adult (usually a parent or other legal guardian). The data that is collected from this questionnaire represented the primary source for the researchers analysis. The ...view middle of the document...
An increased rate of ADD/ADHD (7.3% – 9.7%) and seizures was also noted in children with birth weights below 2,500g as well. With the exception of seizures, there was no difference in the prevalence of DDs between children with birth weights above 3,000g.
The findings of this research were subject to a variety of different limitations. The first limitation was that NHIS did not collect information on gestational age and was therefore unable to differentiate the effects of preterm birth and full term low infant birth weight. Second, information on birth weight and developmental and health outcomes assessed by the researchers in this study was based on maternal report and therefore may be affected by recollection bias and or error. Additionally, it is notable that many socio-demographic risk factors are linked with developmental disabilities and poor health status also are associated with low birth weight. Lastly, because the data used was limited to non-institutionalized children, some conclusions may have been underrepresented.
The findings of this research suggest that there is a varying relationship between health status and birth weight, with the highest risks concentrated among those with the lowest recorded birth weights. Varying levels have developmental and health risks were recorded for birth weights lower than 3,000g. Although the health impact was most alarming for infants with the lowest recorded birth weights, a substantial number of DDs were recorded among the sample of moderately low birth weights (MLBW). This study also suggested that as birth weight and gestational age have recently been considered closely coordinated, it is important to consider health promotion efforts aimed at optimizing maternal weight both before and during pregnancy.
Boulet, L. S, Boyle, A. C, Schieve, A. L. 2009. “Birth weight and health and developmental outcomes in US children, 1997-2005.” Maternal and Child Health Journal, Vol. 15, P. 836-844.