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Distribution and Determinants of Low Birth Weight in Developing Countries
Authors: Rashidul Alam Mahumud, Marufa Sultana, and Abdur Razzaque Sarker
Source: Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, 50(1): 18–28; DOI: 10.3961/jpmph.16.087
Topic(s): Birth weight
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: JAN 2017
Abstract: Objectives Low birth weight (LBW) is a major public health concern, especially in developing countries, and is frequently related to child morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to identify key determinants that influence the prevalence of LBW in selected developing countries. Methods Secondary data analysis was conducted using 10 recent Demography and Health Surveys from developing countries based on the availability of the required information for the years 2010 to 2013. Associations of demographic, socioeconomic, community-based, and individual factors of the mother with LBW in infants were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression analysis. Results The overall prevalence of LBW in the study countries was 15.9% (range, 9.0 to 35.1%). The following factors were shown to have a significant association with the risk of having an LBW infant in developing countries: maternal age of 35 to 49 years (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 3.1; p<0.01), inadequate antenatal care (ANC) (aOR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.8; p<0.01), illiteracy (aOR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.7; p<0.001), delayed conception (aOR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.4 to 2.5; p<0.001), low body mass index (aOR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.1; p<0.001) and being in the poorest socioeconomic stratum (aOR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.8; p<0.001). Conclusions This study demonstrated that delayed conception, advanced maternal age, and inadequate ANC visits had independent effects on the prevalence of LBW. Strategies should be implemented based on these findings with the goal of developing policy options for improving the overall maternal health status in developing countries. Keywords: Developing countries, Global health, Low birth weight, Odds ratio