Chapter 3 Additional World Health Assembly Nutrition Indicators

3.3 PREVALENCE OF LOW BIRTHWEIGHT

The global prevalence of low birthweight declined at a slow pace from 2000 (16.6 percent) to 2019 (14.6 percent) and remained relatively stable in 2020 (FIGURE 20, TABLE 13). The regional trend seems to have followed the same slow pattern of decline. From 2010 to 2015, the prevalence of low birthweight remained stable in the ECA region and then continued its declining trend through 2020. However, the prevalence has always been about half the global estimate, including in 2020 (7.6 percent). The prevalence declined in all subregions of the ECA except the Caucasus and the Western Balkans, where it increased marginally from 2000 to 2020. The prevalence is higher than the regional average in the Caucasus (9.8 percent) and the “other” group of countries that includes Israel and Türkiye (12.4 percent), although all subregions have a prevalence lower than the global estimate.

FIGURE 20

Prevalence of low birthweight by subregion

SOURCE: Adapted from UNICEF & WHO. 2023. Low birthweight joint estimates 2023 edition. [Cited 12 July 2023].
www.who.int/teams/nutrition-and-food-safety/monitoring-nutritional-status-and-food-safety-and-events/joint-low-birthweight-estimates
Download: https://doi.org/10.4060/CC8608EN-fig20
TABLE 13.

Prevalence of low birthweight by subregion, percent

200020052010201520192020
WORLD16.616.115.314.814.614.7
Europe and Central Asia8.48.17.97.97.77.6
Caucasus9.59.69.79.89.89.8
Central Asia6.76.56.46.26.16.0
CIS Europe and Ukraine7.26.96.96.96.96.9
EFTA countries5.75.65.65.65.65.6
EU-27 and the United Kingdom7.37.37.37.37.27.1
Other15.214.513.813.012.512.4
Western Balkans6.06.06.16.26.26.2
SOURCE: Adapted from UNICEF & WHO. 2023. Low birthweight joint estimates 2023 edition. [Cited 12 July 2023].
www.who.int/teams/nutrition-and-food-safety/monitoring-nutritional-status-and-food-safety-and-events/joint-low-birthweight-estimates

FIGURE 21 shows a more detailed picture of the differences in the trends and levels among ECA countries. About 21 of the 51 ECA countries for which data are available have not reduced their prevalence of low birthweight since 2000. Among the countries that have reduced their prevalence of low birthweight, the largest improvement took place in Türkiye, where the prevalence decreased by 2.8 percentage points. Nevertheless, Türkiye (12.9 percent) remains among the countries with the highest prevalence (above 10 percent) in 2020, along with Azerbaijan (11 percent), Bulgaria (11.4 percent) and Greece (11.4 percent).

FIGURE 21

Prevalence of low birthweight by country and subregion

SOURCE: Adapted from UNICEF & WHO. 2023. Low birthweight joint estimates 2023 edition. [Cited 12 July 2023].
www.who.int/teams/nutrition-and-food-safety/monitoring-nutritional-status-and-food-safety-and-events/joint-low-birthweight-estimates
Download: https://doi.org/10.4060/CC8608EN-fig21