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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


ANDRADE, Carla Lourenço Tavares de; SZWARCWALD, Celia Landmann  and  CASTILHO, Euclides Ayres de. Low birth weight in Brazil according to live birth data from the Ministry of Health, 2005. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.11, pp.2564-2572. ISSN 1678-4464.

Although the Brazilian Information System on Live Births (SINASC) has expanded its coverage and improved its data quality since the system was implemented, the live birth count in Brazil is still not complete. The current study analyzes inequalities in low birth weight in Brazil in 2005, based on geographic factors, municipality of residence, maternal schooling, and prenatal care. An analysis of all live births showed a low birth weight paradox, namely high percentages in areas with the highest socioeconomic development. The main explanation for these paradoxical findings involves shorter neonatal survival and inadequate recording of premature births in poorer municipalities. Considering at-term live births from non-multiple gestations, inequalities were found in maternal schooling. Comprehensive, quality prenatal care could have a greater impact by reducing negative outcomes of gestation and decreasing the socioeconomic inequalities of perinatal health in Brazil.

Keywords : Live Birth; Low Birth Weight Infant; Information Systems.

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