Low birth weights down in Oneida County Submitted: 06/19/2017
Low birth weights down in Oneida County
Story By Stephanie Haines

ONEIDA COUNTY - Oneida County now sees fewer babies that are born under weight.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, low birth weights in Oneida County are improving.

Low birth weight means being born smaller than 5.5 pounds.

Data shows the most recent low birth rate in Oneida County is 6.1 percent. That's better than the state's average, which is 7.3 percent.

Low birth weights often mean higher health costs and long-term developmental issues.

"They have to stay in the hospital for a while, and usually they don't let the babies go home until they're around five pounds, so that can be a while for some of them if they're born at a really low birth weight," said 
Dawn Klink, a public health nurse at the Oneida County Health Department. 

The Oneida County Health Department thinks the better numbers are in part thanks to its programs, including its Women, Infants and Children program. It's a free supplemental food program for pregnant women and children up to age five.

Smoking and drinking, as well as air pollution and contaminated drinking water, can cause low birth weight

"And this year we're getting a ton of rain--we're getting a lot of bacterial contamination in the wells--so we encourage people to test their well water if they're pregnant or have small children especially," Klink said. 

If you enroll in the WIC program, you can get your well tested for free. For more information about WIC, call (715) 369-6109.

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