Very low birth weight infants (newborns who weigh less than 3 pounds 2 ounces) require intensive medical care. While these infants represent less than 2 percent of all live births, they also account for about two-thirds of the infants who die in the first year of life. Interventions that reduce the very low birth weight rate will also reduce Medicaid expenditures during the first year of life and reduce the infant mortality rate.

The integrated delivery of the WIC and FCM programs is having a significant impact on the state's infant mortality rate and health care expenditures. Nine consecutive annual program evaluations have shown that the health status of infants born to Medicaid-eligible women who participated in both WIC and FCM has been substantially better than that of infants born to Medicaid-eligible women who did not participate in either program. In particular, the rate of premature birth is more than 60 percent lower among participants in both programs. The rate of low birth weight is more than 35 percent lower; the rate of infant mortality is more than 55 percent lower; and health care expenditures during the first year of life are more than 30 percent lower.

Very Low Birth Weight Rate: Medicaid Eligible Infants, 1997-2005, full description in table below.

Tabular version of Chart "Very Low Birth Weight Rate: Medicaid Eligible Infants, 1997-2005" by Percent of Live Births

Year WIC & FCM Neither
1997 1.3 3.9
1998 1.4 3.7
1999 1.3 4.3
2000 1.3 3.4
2001 1.2 3.7
2002 1.3 4.2
2003 1.4 3.9
2004 1.4 3.8
2005 1.4 4.1

The very low birth weight rate among women who participated in both WIC and FCM was 1.4 percent in 2005, almost one-third of the rate (4.1 percent) observed among Medicaid?eligible women who did not participate in either program during pregnancy.

WIC and FCM are dramatically reducing the rate of premature birth.

All Births - Very Low Birth Weight, 1997-2005, full description in table below.

Tabular version of Chart "All Births - Very Low Birth Weight, 1997-2005" by Percent of Live Births

Year Medicaid All Births
1997 2.00% 1.60%
1998 1.90% 1.60%
1999 2.00% 1.70%
2000 1.80% 1.70%
2001 1.70% 1.60%
2002 1.90% 1.67%
2003 1.77% 1.62%
2004 1.77% 1.70%
2005 1.77% 1.60%