Low birth weight refers to the percent of babies born weighing less than 2,500 grams. Low birth weight is an indicator of the general health of newborns and a key determinant of infant survival and development. Low birth weight infants are at greater risk of dying in their first year and of developing chronic health problems.


According to Statistics Canada, in 2005, the per cent of live births by low birth weight
(< 2,500 grams) in Ontario was 6.2% and in Canada was 6.0% (CANSIM Table 102-2005). According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operative Development (OECD), international health data in 2007, Canada’s rate of 6.0% was the best of the G7 countries (8.1% in the US and 9.5% in Japan). Our LHIN area had a higher overall low birth rate in 2006 and 2007 according to Statistics Canada than Niagara where the combined low birth rate in Niagara for 2006/2007 was 4.06% based on the ISCIS database (Niagara Region Public Health, 2008).


Figure  18 Low Birth Weight Rates (≤2,500 Grams) by Niagara LHIN and Ontario



The infant mortality rate per 1000 live births 1999-2001 was a little higher in HNHB – LHIN at 5.8% per 1000 live births, compared to 5.4 per 1000 live births in Ontario, 2001 (5.6 in 2005). Source: Statistics Canada CANSIM, Table 102-0504 and no. 84F0211X.


The average annual live births to teen mothers in Niagara between 15 and 19 years of age were 200 babies (6% of live births). The rate of teenage girls having babies has remained relatively constant over the last ten years in Niagara. Source: http://www.niagararegion.ca/living/health_wellness/


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