Map showing rate of babies born weighing less than 2.5 kilos, according to a Lancet study. Illustration: AFPMore than 20 million newborns in 2015 — one in seven — came into the world weighing too little, according to a global assessment of birthweight, published Thursday.|Over 90 per cent of babies tipping the scale at less than 2.5 kilos (5.5 pounds) when born were in low- and middle-income countries, researchers reported in The Lancet Global Health.Worldwide, just under 15 per cent of 2015 newborns in the 148 countries canvassed had low birthweight, varying between 2.4 per cent in Sweden and nearly 28 percent in Bangladesh.That’s down from a global average of 17.5 per cent in 2000.But meeting the World Health Organization target of cutting low birthweight 30 per cent between 2012 and 2025 “will require more than doubling the pace of progress,” said lead author Hannah Blencowe, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of low birthweight live births actually increased from 2000 to 2015, from 4.4 to 5 million.Southern Asia is estimated to have had 9.8 million in 2015, nearly half the world total.Weighing less than 2.5 kilos at birth is closely linked to high rates of neonatal mortality and ill health later in life: more than 80 percent of the world’s 2.5 newborns who die every year are low birthweight.Underweight newborns who survive also have a greater risk of stunting as well as developmental and health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”National governments are doing too little to reduce low birthweight,” Blencowe said in a statement.Undernourished mothers”To meet the global nutrition target of a 30 percent reduction by 2025 will require more than doubling the pace of progress.”The reasons for low birthweight are very different in poor and rich regions.In South Asia and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, a large percentage of underweight babies are born at term but are stunted because their mothers were undernourished.In North America and Europe, a higher share of low birthweight babies are preemies.Adolescent pregnancies, a high prevalence of infection, high levels of fertility treatment, and a high rate of caesarean sections — especially in the United States and Brazil — can all be factors, the study found.An international team of researchers analysed national government databases to estimate the prevalence of low birthweight in 148 nations from 2000 to 2015.Overall, the study took into account 281 million births. Several countries — including India — were not included for lack of data.”Every newborn must be weighed, yet worldwide we don’t have a record for the birthweight of nearly one third of all newborns,” said co-author Julia Krasevec, a statistics and monitoring specialist at UNICEF.Besides Sweden, other countries with relatively few low birthweight babies included Finland (4.1 per cent), Iceland (4.2) Serbia (4.5), Norway (4.5), Albania (4.6), China (5), Croatia (5.1) and Cuba (5.3).Many large advanced economies fell in the 6-8 percent range, including France, the United States, Britain and Germany, Mexico and Brazil.Five countries, including Bangladesh, had low birthweight rates above 20 percent: Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, and the Philippines.
Photo via Offutt Air Force BaseAAA experts say drivers can expect gasoline prices to continue declining into the end of the year.Retail gasoline prices across Texas rose a nickel this week.AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide was $2.33 per gallon. Nationwide gas prices are up 2 cents, to average $2.56 per gallon.Association officials say San Antonio has the cheapest gasoline in Texas this week at an average $2.23 per gallon. Drivers in Midland are paying the highest prices for gasoline at an average $2.50 per gallon.AAA officials say the current average retail gasoline price in Texas is 22 cents higher than a year ago. Share
About 200 people gathered at the Temple of Praise in Southeast, D.C. on Jan. 27 for the funeral service of Vivian Marrow, according to Marrow’s sister.Marrow, 68, a wheelchair bound resident, was murdered on Jan. 16 after being caught in the crossfire of a neighborhood shooting in Southeast, D.C.Vivian Marrow, a disabled woman, was shot and killed in the District on Jan. 16. (Courtesy photo)“It was packed,” Renee Green, a resident of Woodbridge, Va., told the AFRO. “I guess the whole neighborhood was empty because they were all there.”Green, 63, said that even though her sister was confined to a scooter, the mother of three, grandmother of 12 and great grandmother of 25, spent her days sitting outside of her home chatting with neighbors and helping others when she could.She was known as the “Candy Lady” around the 2400 block of Elvans Road, SE where she had lived alone for going on 30 years, Green said.On Jan. 16 around 10:16 a.m., Marrow was out front of her apartment complex heading to a local grocery store when she was gunned down after being caught in the middle of a violent altercation, D.C. police said.Officials released video surveillance of the incident on Jan. 18. The video shows Marrow riding her wheelchair along the front of her apartment complex when two men ran around the corner. Shots are fired and Marrow is struck.“She couldn’t run, duck a bullet if she tried, they ran in between where she was,” said Green, the youngest of Marrow’s three siblings. “It was senseless.”Green said Marrow was the “jokester” in the family. She grew up in Southwest, D.C. and lived with her mother Justine Brown. Marrow’s father passed away when she was 8-years-old from liver complications.Decades ago, Marrow was hit by a bus in D.C., crushing her legs. She struggled with mobility after the accident and her disability caused her to experience depression which she treated with counseling and medication, her sister said.“That took a lot of her youth in terms of working,” Green explained. She said Marrow who she nicknamed, “Big Red” had difficulty in the workforce. “She wasn’t able to get out there and get a job like the rest of us were able to.”Nonetheless Marrow persevered and did her best to stay active. She would leave her home on her scooter and travel around the area often.Green said the crash made her sister appreciate life more and led to her being a helpful member of the community, assisting others whenever she was able, “giving her last” sometimes.“She didn’t have a lot to do but if she could feed you, by God she would do that.”Now, Green and her family are hoping the death of Marrow will help put an end to the ongoing violence in D.C. So far, the Marrow has been the only homicide with the area of Evans Road, SE this year. The city had a total of eight homicides in 2017 as of Feb. 1.“This incident, the way it happened, I just know this won’t go away. They will try to do something about it,” Green said.Police are still investigating the murder or Marrow, but Green is hopeful her sister’s killing will encourage authorities to improve the living conditions of D.C. ghettos. She said the gun violence stems from the amount of illegal firearms easily accessible in the District. “You can’t shake everybody down. More police? What can you do,” she questioned.The current District homicide rate is up 14 percent as of Feb. 1, according to The Metropolitan Police Department’s website.The department did not immediately respond to the AFRO’s request for comment on the increase in murders.