PARIS: More than 20 million newborns in 2015 — one in seven—came into the world weighing too little, according to a global assessment of birthweight, published Thursday, reports AFP.
Over 90 percent of babies tipping the scale at less than 2.5 kilos (5.5 pounds) when born were in low- and middle-income countries, researchers reported in The Lancet Global Health.Worldwide, just under 15 percent of 2015 newborns in the 148 countries canvassed had low birthweight, varying between 2.4 percent in Sweden and nearly 28 percent in Bangladesh.
That’s down from a global average of 17.5 percent in 2000.
But meeting the World Health Organization target of cutting low birthweight 30 percent between 2012 and 2025 “will require more than doubling the pace of progress,” said lead author Hannah Blencowe, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of low birthweight live births actually increased from 2000 to 2015, from 4.4 to 5 million.
Southern Asia is estimated to have had 9.8 million in 2015, nearly half the world total.