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Small area variations in low birth weight and small size of births in India
Authors: Md Juel Rana,Rockli Kim,Soohyeon Ko,Laxmi K. Dwivedi,K. S. James, and Rakesh Sarwal,S. V. Subramanian
Source: Maternal and Child Nutrition, Volume 18, issue 3; DOI:
Topic(s): Birth interval
District-level estimates
Spatial analysis
Country: Asia
Published: APR 2022
Abstract: The states and districts are the primary focal points for policy formulation and programme intervention in India. The within-districts variation of key health indicators is not well understood and consequently underemphasised. This study aims to partition geographic variation in low birthweight (LBW) and small birth size (SBS) in India and geovisualize the distribution of small area estimates. Applying a four-level logistic regression model to the latest round of the National Family Health Survey (2015–2016) covering 640 districts within 36 states and union territories of India, the variance partitioning coefficient and precision-weighted prevalence of LBW (<2.5?kg) and SBS (mother's self-report) were estimated. For each outcome, the spatial distribution by districts of mean prevalence and small area variation (as measured by standard deviation) and the correlation between them were computed. Of the total valid sample, 17.6% (out of 193,345 children) had LBW and 12.4% (out of 253,213 children) had SBS. The small areas contributed the highest share of total geographic variance in LBW (52%) and SBS (78%). The variance of LBW attributed to small areas was unevenly distributed across the regions of India. While a strong correlation between district-wide percent and within-district standard deviation was identified in both LBW (r?=?0.88) and SBS (r?=?0.87), they were not necessarily concentrated in the aspirational districts. We find the necessity of precise policy attention specifically to the small areas in the districts of India with a high prevalence of LBW and SBS in programme formulation and intervention that may be beneficial to improve childbirth outcomes.