Israeli Study Concludes Babies with Low Birth Weight Are Likely Born in Polluted Areas

In recent news, it has been revealed in a study conducted in the State of Israel that newborn babies are more likely to have a low birth weight if they are given birth in areas with reportedly high levels of air pollution. Authors have revealed that there is no less than a 25 percent chance of low birth weight being recorded in babies born in highly polluted areas. They carried out this research by taking into account more than 381,000 births that have taken place in the last 11 years. This data gave them an in-depth insight into the effects that pollution has on fetuses, as well as the environment and the health of the people as a whole. Prof. Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist working at the Hebrew University, stated that the literature of this fact had not yet been clear until this largely conclusive study was carried out. 

However, now the researchers have been able to successfully ascertain a link between air pollution and the exposure that children have to it, leading to a lower birth weight. He went on to say how a low birth weight is an important indicator of possible health problems arising later in life. The epidemiologist went on to stress upon the significance of knowing this fact. After the results of the study were drawn up, the study was further peer-reviewed and sent for publishing in Environmental Research, a popular journal related to the effects of pollution on the environment. The research is based on the personal anonymized data taken from mothers. Other information was also gathered, such as the area where these mothers reside and the weight of their newborn babies. 

Maccabi Health Services was contacted by the researchers to ascertain all this information. The data collected was then cross-referenced with information present on the daily air pollutant concentration that exists per each square kilometer of the country. The Ben Gurion University was accredited for providing this research that they derived through satellite data. Levine conducted this research alongside Wiessam Abu Ahmad, a doctoral student of his. According to him, the State of Israel was the prime location to carry out such a study, as the medical records of the country are properly and fully digitized. In addition, the levels of pollution are significantly high, and mothers are known to give birth to more children than those in a majority of developed countries. 

In the words of Levine, the results of this study should help have an impact on the health policies formed across the globe. He commented that the governments in this day and age do not account for the impact that air pollution has on fetuses when they design policies. However, they should now be wary of the impact of air pollution on the next generation and pay special attention to them when coming up with related policies. The professor suggested that the relevant government authorities could put some effort into tracking the correlations that exist between birth weight and pollution on a larger scale. He emphasized on the fact that this is of utmost important where the health of babies is concerned. 

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