According to a new study, 40,000 underweight babies are born each year in the UK
An increase in the amount of tiny babies that are being born in the UK has been linked to older mothers giving birth.
In a new report released by the Fabian Society, women are being urged to not wait to long before having babies, due to health complications that can be associated with underweight babies.
According to statistics, the UK has the most underweight babies born annually, with 40,000 weighing under 5lbs at birth.
“If Britain had the same record on low birth weight as the best countries in Europe, 24,000 babies would have much improved life chances,” said lead researcher Louise Bamfield. “The facts should shock us all. Britain has the worst rate of every country in western Europe, except Greece.”
Since 1989, the rate of underweight babies being born as jumped from 67 out of every 1000, to 78 out of every 1000 born in 2006.
According to the report, teenaged mothers and older mothers are the most likely to give birth to low weight babies
The report states that it is up to the British government to provide better antinatal services, and to increase financial support to “at risk women.”
Babies of working class mothers, had two times the risk of death within the first year of life, with Asian women proven to be the most likely to give birth to underweight babies. Mothers of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin are also at higher risk – their babies are on average 300g (10oz) lighter than those of white mothers.