Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Teresa Lefmann

Second Advisor

Kirsten Dellinger

Third Advisor

Eva Tatum

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

The state of Mississippi currently has the highest incidence of low birth weight (LBW) births in the United States. LBW is a negative birth outcome which can lead to suboptimal pediatric health and development. The primary goals of this thesis are to identify the long-term outcomes associated with LBW and to present potential interventions to address LBW. A combination of literature review and quantitative data analysis were used to inform the objective of this thesis. A variety of physical health, behavioral health, and other long-term issues were found associated with LBW. The consequences of LBW place LBW children at a disadvantage early in life, and some of these disadvantages can create challenges throughout the duration of their life. Prenatal maternal prevention strategies, postnatal interventions involving the LBW child, and educational interventions are all promising tools for reducing the rate and implications of LBW. Although there is ample room for further research into the long-term effects of LBW, it is evident that LBW is closely associated with lasting negative impacts which can reduce overall health and quality of life for children born at LBW. Due to the large economic and social impact LBW can have, the State of Mississippi should seek to ensure the presence and funding of adequate resources aimed at mitigating the effects of LBW.

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