Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Topics: Childbirth, United States, Preterm birth Pages: 3 (790 words) Published: July 6, 2013
Racial and ethnic disparities in health disproportionately affect minority Americans. One of the greatest challenges facing the US healthcare system is the persistence of disparities in infant and maternal health among the different racial and ethnic groups.  Now a day a major concern which is affecting communities on overall pertaining to childbirth is preterm births in the United States of America. In fact, preterm births and low birth weight have negative consequences not only for the infants and their families but also on the society. Actual delivery before 37 weeks of gestation is the primary concern and low birth weights have a major impact on the functional domains, such as cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, and hyperactivity disorder (Brooks-Gunn J., McCarton C. M., Casey P. H., McCormick M. C., Bauer C. R., Bernbaum J. C., Tonascia J. (1994). Babies who weigh 5.5 pounds (2500grams) or less at birth are low babies with low birth weight. Babies weighing 3.3 pounds (1500 grams) or less are Very low birth weight babies. There is a significant medical and social cost for low birth weight infants and preterm births. Low birth weight is a major predictor of infant mortality. Ethnic and cultural group’s disparities related to low birth weight infant and preterm infant are significantly disproportionate, affecting minority Americans. Although infant morbidity cannot be directly linked with low birth weight but it is a frequently used as a marker for poor health at birth because it amounts for the leading risk factor for infant morbidity and for subsequent mortality among the surviving infants. The extent of which ethnic and cultural disparities in low birth weight reflect socioeconomic inequalities, cigarette smoking during pregnancy, young maternal age and low educational achievements are also associated with low birth weights. The hospital costs for low birth weight infants during the first year of life in 2001 totaled $5.8 billion, representing forty-seven...
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