Number of low birth-weight indigenous babies falls

THE rate of low birth-weight indigenous babies fell 9% in the decade to 2011, but indigenous mothers were still twice as likely as others to have a child born below a healthy weight.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed the rate of low birth weight babies to indigenous Australian mothers fell 9% between 2000 and 2011.

The report found while smoking rates among pregnant indigenous women -a key indicator of low birth-weight - also fell 6% between 2005 and 2011, it was still high.

Some half of the 11,729 indigenous mothers who gave birth in 2011 still reported smoking during their pregnancy.