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Low Birth-Weight in Newham

Low Birth-Weight in Newham

Low Birth-Weight in Newham: Definition, Antecedents and Prevention

Start Date:  November 2014   End Date:  July 2017   Status: Phase 2: Co-designed improvement intervention


A high incidence of low birth-weight in Newham was identified as a problem by the CCG who therefore commissioned the project. International evidence shows that babies who are born early or small for dates (small for gestational age) are more likely to have heart problems and develop diabetes and other illnesses in childhood and as adults (Barker et al. 2013). Some of these diseases arise from low birth-weight babies being over-fed to promote rapid “catch-up” growth, which can cause obesity in later life. The incidence of prematurity and low birth-weight is linked to socioeconomic status and health inequalities. Pre-pregnancy health care for women and early access to antenatal care can help to reduce this incidence.


  • To provide a greater understanding of the problem of low birth-weight in Newham
  • To co-design an intervention to predict and prevent low birth-weight and improve support to families with low birth-weight babies
  • To provide a basis for further improvement actions based on research evidence


  • Community engagement starting with World Café and Patient and Public Involvement
  • Literature review on low birth-weight definitions, antecedents and consequences
  • Analysis of Newham University Hospital data on low birth-weight babies and their mothers
  • Mapping of community assets that can help to prevent low birth-weight
  • Qualitative interviews with 21 parents of low birth-weight babies
  • Group interviews with 39 health and social care professionals
  • Stakeholder workshops to propose and prioritise improvement actions
  • Implementation of co-designed actions
Project Intervention
  • Improvement actions are being carried out in the areas of women’s pre-pregnancy care and healthy infant feeding.
  • We are producing a video about some hospital- and community-based infant feeding initiatives in Newham that involve different kinds of peer, group and one-to-one support for parents, relatives and carers.



  • Patel D, Rance S, Harden A, Tobi P, Tong J, Syed A, Stephenson J. Exploring and addressing low birth-weight in Newham: a community-based intervention. Poster presentation. Institute for Women’s Health 11th Annual Conference, University College London, 11th June 2016.
  • Rance S, Harden A, Tobi P, Syed, A, Stephenson J. Making low birth-weight matter: a community-based approach. Oral presentation. International Health Conference 2016. King’s College London, 20th – 22nd June 2016.
  • Rance S, Harden A, Tobi P, Patel D, Syed A, Stephenson J. Exploring and addressing low birth-weight in Newham: community and public health perspectives. Oral presentation. UEL Research Conference 2016. Stratford, London, 29th June 2016.
  • Rance S, Harden A, Patel D, Sheridan K, Findlay G, Syed A, Tobi P, Tong J, Stephenson J. Patient and Public Involvement at the heart of intervention co-design: exploring community priorities for action to address low birth-weight in Newham. Poster presentation. Public Health England Annual Conference 2016: Evidence into Action.  Warwick University, 13th – 14th September 2016.
  • Harden A, Findlay G, Rance S, Tobi P, Patel D, Sheridan K, Ali G, Syed A, Tong J, Cox L, Seddeka A, Stephenson J. Low Birth-Weight in Newham seminar: Launching the project’s healthy infant feeding improvement intervention. Oral presentation, University Square Stratford. London: Institute for Health and Human Development, University of East London; 20th October 2016.

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Project Lead:

Dr Susanna Rance, Senior Research Fellow, IHHD

Principal Investigators: Angela Harden, Professor of Community and Family Health, IHHD; Judith Stephenson, Margaret Pyke Professor of Sexual & Reproductive Health, Institute for Women’s Health, University College London
Project Team:
Dr Patrick Tobi, Dilisha Patel, Gulnar Ali, Jin Tong, Asmat Syed, Gail Findlay, Kevin Sheridan, Alpa Shah, Cathy Falvey-Browne, Imdad Ali, Elizabeth Goodyear

Funder: Guttmann Academic Partnership hosted by UCL Partners

Project Partners: UCLPartners, Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Barts Health NHS Trust, London Borough of Newham, Newham University Hospital

For more information, contact:
Professor Angela Harden 

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