Racial and Ethnic Disparity in Low Birth Weight in Syracuse, New York

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Sandra D. Lane, PhD, MPH; Silvia Tera´n, MD; Cynthia B. Morrow, MD, MPH; Lloyd F. Novick, MD, MPH
Date published
Feb, 2002
Last updated
22 Jan 2020


This case—racial and ethnic disparity in low birth weight—is one of a series of teaching cases in the Case-Based Series in Population-Oriented Prevention (C-POP). It has been developed for use in medical school and residency prevention curricula. The complete set of cases is presented in this supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Low birth weight is a leading cause of infant mortality. Unfortunately, despite declining rates of infant mortality, racial and ethnic disparities in both low birth weight and infant mortality rates persist. In this teaching case, a clinical vignette is used to draw attention to this public health priority in Syracuse, New York.

Students learn essential epidemiology skills such as identifying limitations of sources of data and calculating relative risks, using the example of low birth weight. In performing these skills, students also identify etiologies for such disparity. Finally, students discuss interventions that, when implemented, may decrease infant mortality rates.

(Am J Prev Med 2003;24(4S):128–132) ©2003 American Journal of Preventive Medicine