The belief that a babies birth weight is linked to its ethnicity has been challenged by new research. An Oxford University study measured almost 60,000 pregnancies across the world and found that the biggest influence on birth weight was the educational, health and nutritional status of the mothers.
Previously it was thought that race or ethnicity played the biggest factor in determining birth weight.
Small birth size is associated with infant death and illness, as well as increased risks of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease later in life making it crucial that every mother receive the right care during pregnancy.
Lead researcher Professor Jose Villar, "Currently we are not all equal at birth, but we can be. We can create a similar start for all by making sure mothers are well educated and nourished, by treating infection and by providing adequate antenatal care."
The average birth weight in New Zealand 3.41 kg which is similar to the US. India has one of the lowest global birth weights where the average baby weighs 2.8 kilos. In 2010, an estimated 32.4 million babies were born undernourished in, representing 27 per cent of all live births globally.
For more information on the study click below