CHR, UNICEF and World Bank to co-sponsor meeting on low-birth weight

Nearly twenty percent of the world's children are born weighing less than 2500 grams. Low birth weight predisposes these children to infections and other health problems, and is estimated to cause up to 40% of early mortality. Prevention of low birth weight in Bangladesh and India alone would save the lives of nearly 700,000 children each year.

An international meeting funded by USAID's Child Health Research Project, UNICEF and the World Bank and hosted by the Centre for Health and Population Research (ICDDR,B) in Dhaka, Bangladesh on June 14-17, 1999 will systematically examine the extent and causes of low birth weight and the potential importance of various interventions. Also included will be a site visit to the field research site of the World Bank's Bangladeshi Integrated Nutrition Project in Shaharasthi Thana.

Speakers will represent a wide variety of organizations, such as WHO, UNICEF, PAHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine The Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands, and Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Emory Universities. Health researchers from the ICDDR,B will also present their work.

Highlights of the meeting include discussions of:

  • Levels, patterns and determinants of low birth weight;
  • Mortality and morbidity consequences of low birth weight;
  • Growth of low birth weight children;
  • The Bangladesh experience - epidemiology and consequences;
  • Body composition and implications for preventing low birth weight;
  • Cultural beliefs and social practices relating to maternal food intake and birth weight;
  • Measurement of pregnancy weight gain and usefulness for targeting;
  • Measuring size at birth - alternatives and implications for monitoring and evaluation;
  • Low birth weight - prevention and after care in routine programs;
  • Effect of dietary supplements before and during pregnancy;
  • The role of micronutrients;
  • The critical moment for interventions - childhood, adolescence,

Contact: Laura M. Kelley
Child Health Research Project

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