The ten countries with the highest number of underweight newborns all come from South Asia and Africa. Bangladesh leads the list, followed by the Comoros and Nepal, according to a global study published on Thursday.
In 2015, nearly 27 percent or 864,800 babies born in Bangladesh weighed less than the 2.5 kilogram prescribed worldwide. In 2000, 36 percent of the babies born in the country were underweight. In the Comoros and Nepal, the rate was 23.7 and 21.8, respectively.
The Philippines, Laos and Mauritius finished 5th, 7th and 10th. Underweight babies have a high mortality rate and are at risk for growth arrest and the development of chronic diseases.
Worldwide, more than 80 percent of the 2.5 million newborns who die each year are underweight. South Asia accounts for nearly half of all underweight babies worldwide, with an estimated 9.8 million in 201
China, the world's most populous country, reported 17,121,600 live births in 2015, including 846,900 underweight babies, an improvement of 940,600 underweight births in 2000. Researchers could not calculate the number in India due to lack of quality data.
"India and China have the most births worldwide, India has partial data, and we do not report it." Joy Lawn, director of maternal adolescent reproductive and maternal health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told CGTN Digital:
Need for action
Underweight in Sub-Saharan Africa Births have risen from 4.4 million to five million, mainly due to factors such as migration and fertility rates.
The situation is alarming as nearly such babies were born in South Asia and sub-Saharan analysis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) published in the journal "Lancet".
In 2012, around 195 countries were concerned about the high prevalence of underweight babies who pledge to cut those births by 30 percent by 2025. However, the present study found that worldwide prevalence declined only marginally from 17.5 percent in 2000 to 14.6 percent in 2015.
Top 10 countries with low-birth-weight babies. / CGTN Graphics
Top 10 countries dealing with low birth weight babies. / CGTN Graphics
The dismal decline rate suggests that more action is needed to reach the goal. "Despite clear commitments, our estimates suggest that national governments are not doing enough to reduce birth weight," Dr. Hannah Blencowe from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and lead author of the study.
Why are so many babies born underweight?
Experts point to a number of factors responsible for baby's low birth weight, including the age of pregnancy. Women who are born as a teenager or over 40 years. The birth status and exposure to environmental factors such as indoor air pollution, tobacco use and drug abuse Also Affect the Weight of Newborns In more developed regions, premature births result in low birth weight.
Low-weight births have also proved challenging in highly developed economies such as the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Between 2000 and 2015, these countries recorded a consistently low birth rate of seven percent per year.
Little progress has been made in high-income countries such as the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Germany, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Between 2000 and 2015, there was almost no change in the prevalence of low-birth-weight infants the researchers.
Sweden reported one of the lowest rates of low birthweight infants at 2.4 percent in 2015.