Okinawa has more underweight babies than national average

According to Okinawa Prefecture officials, Okinawan mothers give birth to more low-weight babies than the rest of Japan.

Official statistics show that whereas 10.3 % of babies born in Okinawa in fiscal 2000 were considered underweight, the ration increased to 11.6 % in fiscal 2012. Although Okinawa is on the top of the fertility rate in Japan, the birth rate of low-weight babies has not improved.  The rate in Okinawa is two points higher than the national average of 9.6 %.

The Okinawa Prefecture health officials analyze that, as the teenage birth rate here is more than double the national average, teen mothers have a low number of maternity health checkups at a clinic during their pregnancy, and also the risk of smoking tends to be high.

In addition, small children in Okinawa tend to have worse teeth than children in the rest of the country. The cavity rate of three-year-olds improved from 55.1 % in 2000 to 33.2 % in 2012, but it’s still higher than the national average of 19.08 %.