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A baby's birth weight indicates both the mother's health and nutritional status, and her baby's chances for growth, overall development, and long-term health. Babies born weighing under 5 pounds, 8 ounces are considered to have a low birth weight, which carries a range of health risks, including a weakened immune system, reduced muscle strength, decreased cognitive and social development, and a higher incidence of diabetes and heart disease in later life. Low birth weight babies have an increased risk of disease and even of death during their early months and years.
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