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Health Indicator Report of Low Birth Weight Among Singleton Term Births

Low birth weight (LBW) increases the risk for infant morbidity and mortality. LBW infants are at greater risk of dying in the first month of life. LBW infants may require intensive care at birth and are at higher risk of developmental disabilities and chronic illnesses throughout life. They are more likely to require special education services. Health care costs and length of hospital stay are higher for LBW infants.


Full term births are those with a gestational age of 37 or more weeks. In 2014, NCHS changed the standard for gestational period from the Last Menstrual Period (LMP) based gestational age to the Obstetric/clinical Estimate (OE) based gestational age. Obstetric/clinical Estimate (OE) based gestational age groups for U.S. data are available only for years 2007 and later. Refer to [ Measuring Gestational Age in Vital Statistics Data: Transitioning to the Obstetric Estimate] for more information. Confidence limits are not available for the U.S. data.

Data Sources

  • Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Natality public-use data. CDC WONDER On-line Database accessed at []

Data Interpretation Issues

Infants from multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.), are more likely to be of low birth weight. Prematurity (being born before 37 weeks of gestation) is also a strong factor causing low birth weight. To better understand factors that affect growth alone, this indicator for low birth weight focuses on singleton births who have reached full term (37 or more weeks of gestation).


Percent of live-born singleton infants born at term with a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams (about 5 lbs, 8 oz)


Number of live-born singleton infants born at term (37 or more completed weeks of gestation) with a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams born to resident mothers


Number of live-born singleton infants born at term to resident mothers

How Are We Doing?

In New Jersey, the average birth weight among full term singleton infants is 3,377 grams, or 7 lbs, 7 oz. The percentage of full term singleton infants with low birth weight (LBW) has been steady at 2.2% among New Jersey residents during recent years. The rate varies significantly by factors such as mother's race/ethnicity and age. LBW is most likely among Black, Asian, and teen mothers. Rates vary widely across the state's counties from 1.6% to 2.8%.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The full term singleton low birth weight rate among New Jersey residents is consistently below the national rate.

What Is Being Done?

The [ Division of Family Health Services] in the New Jersey Department of Health administers programs to enhance the health, safety and well-being of families and communities in New Jersey. Several programs are aimed at improving birth outcomes.
Page Content Updated On 05/16/2018, Published on 05/16/2018
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 19 July 2018 4:05:23 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 23 May 2018 05:01:08 EDT