More low birthweight in deprived areas
Percentage of low birthweight among singleton live births by mother's age and population quintile, England and Wales, 1996-2000 combined
The percentages of singleton births with low birthweights were higher for babies with mothers in each age group living in the more deprived areas in England compared with those in the less deprived areas. Birthweight distributions varied by minority ethnic group and mother’s country of birth. In 2000, women born in West Africa and in the Caribbean had the highest percentages of babies weighing under 1,500g.
The average age at childbearing and the proportions of births to mothers in their thirties and forties continued to rise in England and Wales from 1991 to 2000. In 2000, 30 per cent of live births were to mothers aged 30 to 34 years and 14 per cent to mothers aged 35 to 39 years. Multiple birth rates are highest in these age groups.
The proportion of live births with fathers in manual occupations declined, while the proportion with fathers in non-manual occupations increased. The proportion registered by mothers alone remained stable.
Wide socio-demographic differences exist in breastfeeding, with 84 per cent of women with partners in non-manual occupations breastfeeding in 2000, compared with 64 per cent of those in manual occupations. Differences between ethnic groups were much wider in 2000, with 95 per cent of Black women breastfeeding initially compared with 67 per cent of White women. Initiation of breastfeeding dropped off in successive pregnancies, especially among White women.
Boys under the age of 16 years were more likely than girls to report longterm illness. Children from manual households tended to be more likely to do so than those from non-manual households.
There were no consistent sex or class differences in acute illness or in specific aspects of health, but there were differences between minority ethnic groups. Children from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese backgrounds were less likely than other ethnic groups or the general population to report acute sickness.
Percentage of mothers breast-feeding initially by social class of partner, 1995 and 2000
Differences also exist between ethnic groups for overweight and obesity in children. Indian and Pakistani boys were more likely to be overweight than boys in the general population. Afro-Caribbean and Pakistani girls were more likely to be obese than girls in the general population.
Sources: ONS Nazroo J, Becher H, Kelly Y, McMunn (2001) Children’s health. In: Erens B, Primatesta P, Prior P (eds) Health Survey for England. The health of ethnic minority groups ’99. A survey carried out on behalf of The Department of Health, Volume 1: Findings. General Household Survey. Saxena S, Ambler G, Cole T J and Majeed A (2004) Ethnic group differences in overweight and obese children and young people in England: cross sectional survey. Archives of Disease in Childhood 89, 30–36. Hamlyn B, Brooker S, Oleinikova K and Wands S (2002) Infant Feeding 2000. A survey conducted on behalf of the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive, the National Assembly for Wales and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland. TSO: London. Thomas M and Avery V (1997) Infant feeding in Asian families. TSO: London.
World Health Organization definitions of birthweight are: Low birthweight: less than 2,500g. Very low birthweight: less than 1,500