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Prevalence and Determinants of Low Birth Weight in India: Findings From a Nationally Representative Cross-Sectional Survey (2019-21)
Authors: Siaa Girotra, Neha Mohan, Mansi Malik, Shubhanjali Roy and Saurav Basu
Source: Cureus, 15
Topic(s): Birth weight
Child health
Maternal health
Country: Asia
Published: MAR 2023
Abstract: Introduction: Low birth weight (LBW) is an important public health indicator extensively linked to infant and child mortality, especially in lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). Globally, 15.5% of all infants are born with LBW while 95% of these occur in LMICs. This study aims to examine the prevalence and determinants of LBW in India. Methods: Data were obtained from the fifth National Family Health Survey (NFHS) round conducted during 2019-2021. The study sample included women aged 15-49 years who had a singleton pregnancy in the five years preceding the survey (N=175,240). A bivariate analysis was carried out and a logistic regression model was fitted to assess the maternal determinants affecting the birth weight among newborns. Results: A total of 175,240 mothers were included in the present study. The proportion of newborns with LBW was 17.29% (n=26366, 95% confidence interval [CI] 17.01, 17.57), of which 6% (n=1450, 95% CI 5.61, 6.41) had very low birth weight (less than 1500 g). An increase in the education level of women or wealth index also resulted in significantly reduced odds of LBW in the newborn. However, the number of antenatal care (ANC) visits lacked any statistically significant association with the odds of having a newborn with LBW. Conclusions: The burden of LBW in India in recent years has remained stable despite impressive economic growth and increased public health spending on food security and nutritional supplementation. Strengthening the quality of ANC services for pregnant women with a focus on sensitization and awareness generation for improving maternal nutrition requires high prioritization.