In a study conducted by researchers at McMaster University, it has been found that low birth weight babies are as competent as infants with normal birth weight. Infact, they have been found to attain similar education levels, employment and enjoy similar levels of independence as their counterparts. The results of the interesting study can be found in the latest issue of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).
Previous studies have established that low birth weight infants are likely to suffer developmental abnormalities such as delayed development, cerebral palsy and vision problems. But the above study has demonstrated that they may still qualify to a socially respectable position, defying all odds. The results of the present study come in as a boon for parents who are much concerned about their child.
The two-year-old study has been conducted amongst a group of 166 infants with very low birth weight (1.1 to 2.2 lbs). 145, healthy, normal birth weight infants were included as controls. Different aspects related to education, student life, work, living independent living, marriage and parenthood were into consideration.
The low birth-weight infants were continuously assessed since birth while the control group members were recruited into the study at age eight. This assessment was further carried out during teenage and early adulthood. The percentage of graduates who had graduated was 82 and 87% amongst the experimental and control group respectively. In addition, over 30% of the study participants were found to pursue postgraduate education.
No significant difference was noted with respect to employment status. 48 and 57% of the experimental and control group participants were found to enjoy a permanent employment status. No disparity was evident in terms of independent living, marriage, co-habitation or parenthood. This observation was valid even when age related comparisons were measured.
The researchers conclude that low birth weight infants give it their best shot to make themselves functional members of the society. A significant compromise was noted between the low and normal birth weight study participants all through their childhood. It is further emphasized that more studies be conducted to identify any factors that can account for the observed positive outcome.