Birthweight (PI01 and PI02)

Indicators related to birthweight in the nKPI are:

  • the proportion of Indigenous babies born within the previous 12 months whose birthweight was recorded at the primary health care organisation
  • the proportion of Indigenous babies born within the previous 12 months whose birthweight results were low, normal or high.

Why is birthweight important?

Birthweight is a key indicator of a baby’s immediate health and a determinant of their future health. Measuring birthweight allows infants to be given early and suitable intervention, which can mitigate adverse outcomes. Indigenous mothers are less likely to have a baby of normal birthweight than non-Indigenous mothers (AIHW 2019b).

Low birthweight babies (less than 2,500 grams) are more likely to die in infancy or to be at increased risk of illness in infancy. Low birthweight is closely associated with pre-term birth—almost 3 in 4 low birthweight babies were pre-term, and more than half of pre-term babies were of low birthweight in 2017 (AIHW 2019a). Babies may also be low birthweight because they are small for gestational age, while some low-birthweight babies may be both pre-term and small for gestational age.

High birthweight (4,500 grams or more) is also of concern. Data from 12 high, middle and low-income countries indicates that higher birthweight was associated with increased odds of obesity among children aged 9–11 (Qiao et al. 2015).

Birthweight recorded (PI01)

This indicator is the proportion of Indigenous babies born within the previous 12 months whose birthweight has been recorded at the primary health care organisation.

At June 2019, 71% of Indigenous babies born in the previous 12 months had their birthweight recorded.

Birthweight recorded, by reporting period

This Tableau visualisation shows the percentage of Indigenous babies born in the last year whose birthweight was recorded at the primary health care organisation by reporting period (June 2017, December 2017, June 2018, December 2018 and June 2019).

Data supporting this visualisation are available in Excel supplementary data tables at Data.

Visualisation not available for printing

Recording of birthweight was highest in:

  • South Australia (81%)
  • Major cities (82%).

It was lowest in:

  • the Northern Territory (54%)
  • Very remote areas (55%).

Birthweight recorded, by either state/territory or remoteness, reporting period

This Tableau visualisation shows the percentage of Indigenous babies born in the last year whose birthweight was recorded at the primary health care organisation for either:

  • state/territory (NSW/ACT, Vic, Qld, WA, SA, Tas, NT, Australia)
  • remoteness area (Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote, Very remote, Australia).

Reporting periods of either June 2017, December 2017, June 2018, December 2018 or June 2019 can be selected.

Data supporting this visualisation are available in Excel supplementary data tables at Data.

Visualisation not available for printing

Birthweight result (PI02)

This indicator is the proportion of Indigenous babies born within the previous 12 months whose birthweight result recorded at the primary health care organisation were low, normal or high.

At June 2019, 86% of Indigenous babies born in the previous year had a normal birthweight.

Birthweight result, by reporting period

This Tableau visualisation shows the percentage of Indigenous babies born in the last year whose birthweight was recorded at the primary health care organisation by birthweight result (low, normal, high) and reporting period (June 2017, December 2017, June 2018, December 2018 and June 2019).

Data supporting this visualisation are available in Excel supplementary data tables at Data.

Visualisation not available for printing

Having a normal birthweight was highest in:

  • Queensland and South Australia (both 89%)
  • Major cities and Inner regional areas (both 88%).

It was lowest in:

  • Victoria/Tasmania (82% combined)
  • Remote areas (82%).

Birthweight result, by either state/territory or remoteness, reporting period

This Tableau visualisation shows the percentage of Indigenous babies born in the last year whose birthweight was recorded at the primary health care organisation by birthweight result (select for low, normal, or high) for either:

  • state/territory (NSW/ACT, Vic, Qld, WA, SA, Tas, NT, Australia)
  • remoteness area (Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote, Very remote, Australia).

Reporting periods of either June 2017, December 2017, June 2018, December 2018 or June 2019 can be selected.

Data supporting this visualisation are available in Excel supplementary data tables at Data.

Visualisation not available for printing

References

AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2019a. Australia’s mothers and babies 2017—in brief. Perinatal statistics series no. 35. Cat. no. PER 100. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 16 March 2020.

AIHW 2019b. Australia’s mothers and babies 2017—data visualisations. Cat. no. PER 101. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 16 March 2020.

Qiao Y, Ma J, Wang Y, Katzmarzyk P, Chaput J, Fogelholm M et al. 2015. Birth weight and childhood obesity: a 12-country study. International Journal of Obesity Supplements 5, S74–S79.