The Kenya Forum | Air pollution linked with low birthweight, health of newborns - The Kenya Forum

August 25, 2013


Air pollution linked with low birthweight, health of newborns. Mothers who live in polluted areas are more likely to have unhealthy children.

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Air pollution linked with low birthweight, health of newborns

Air pollution linked with low birthweight, health of newborns

Low birth weight (LBW) is one of the conditions an expectant woman has to worry about when it comes to delivery. The announcement of the arrival of a bouncing baby girl or boy has never been complete without the accompanying weighing of the baby, the heavier he/she is, the healthier it is believed by many.

The average weight that is considered healthy for a newborn baby is anything above 2.5kg otherwise if a baby weighs less than that, he/she is normally considered to have a low birth weight which can come with a number of complications among them low immune systems which makes the baby prone to child diseases and health complications later in life.

Numerous reasons have been said to cause low birth weight including smoking by expectant mothers, premature births, birth by young mothers, alcohol consumption, multiple pregnancies and poor nutrition, and as it now emerges air pollution is on the list as well.


As highlighted by The Daily Nation on Thursday February 7, 2013, according to a recent report published in the journal Nature, pregnant women exposed to higher levels of air pollution from industrial and car emissions are more likely to have underweight children.

Researchers studied data focusing on air pollution from three million births at 14 research centres in nine countries which included rapidly industrializing nations.

According to the research, the chances of an infant being underweight increased when more air pollutants were at play.

Lead particles found in petrol are said to inhibit enzymes as well as cause damage to kidneys, brain and the nervous system.

Low birth weight contributes to up 60 to 80 percent of the infant mortality rate in developing countries and it’s therefore crucial to regulate some of these environmental factors that cause LWB.


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