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MICH-8.2 Data Details

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MICH-8.2 Reduce very low birth weight (VLBW)

About the Data

Description of the data source, numerator, denominator, survey questions, and other relevant details about the national estimate.

Data Source: 
National Vital Statistics System-Natality
Changed Since the Healthy People 2020 Launch: 
Baseline (Year): 
1.5 (2007)
Target-Setting Method: 
Projection/trend analysis
Target-Setting Method Justification: 
The rate of very low birth weight (VLBW) births has increased steadily since 1981. VLBW is influenced by increasingly common factors, including older maternal age at childbearing and increased use of infertility therapies that result in multiple births. A reduction of 5 percent in the next 10 years is the proposed target.

Number of live births with birth weight of less than 1,500 grams (3 lbs, 4oz)


Number of live births

Comparable Healthy People 2010 Objective: 
Retained from HP2010 objective
Data Collection Frequency: 
Methodology Notes: 

    Information on birthweight is available for the entire United States. Birthweight is reported in some areas in pounds and ounces and in other areas as grams. However, the metric system is used to tabulate and present the statistics to facilitate comparison with data published by other groups. The categories for birthweight are consistent with the recommendations in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD–10). ICD–10 defines low birthweight as less than 2,500 grams. Very low birthweight is defined as less than 1,500 grams.

    To establish the continuity of class intervals needed to convert pounds and ounces to grams, the end points of these intervals are assumed to be half an ounce less at the lower end and half an ounce more at the upper end. For example, 2 lb 4 oz–3 lb 4 oz is interpreted as 2 lb 3 ½ oz–3 lb 4 ½ oz.

    A description of the very low birth weight measurement has been published by NCHS.

Trend Issues: 
Beginning with 2017 data, marital status of the mother for births occurring in or to residents of California are not available due to state statutory restrictions. As a result tabulated data on births by marital status are discontinued after 2016.

Revision History

Any change to the objective text, baseline, target, target-setting method or data source since the Healthy People 2020 launch.

Description of Changes Since the Healthy People 2020 Launch: 
In 2017, the estimates for geographic location were updated to reflect the 2013 urban/rural classification scheme.


Additional resources about the objective

  1. Heck, K.E., and Klein, R.J. Operational definitions for year 2000 objectives: Priority area 14, Maternal and Infant Health. Healthy People 2000 Statistical Note. No. 14. Hyattsville, MD: NCHS, 1998.