Study: Boys more likely to be born early, don't do as well after a premature birth

WASHINGTON - A researcher says boys take a double-whammy when they are born prematurely.

Dr. Joy Lawn of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says that in addition to being a little more likely than girls to be born early, boys don't do as well after a premature birth. Lawn, who led the research team, says the pattern is repeated globally.

It's unclear why it happens. The gender difference in premature births isn't large -- about 55 percent of preterm births in 2010 were male.

A series of studies on newborn health and prematurity are being published Friday in the journal Pediatric Research. About 15 million babies worldwide are born too soon, most of them in Africa and parts of Asia where survival is more difficult. About 1 million babies die as a direct result of preterm birth and another million die of related conditions.

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