Distribution and determinants of low birth weight in developing countries

Rashidul Alam Mahumud, Marufa Sultana, Abdur Razzaque Sarker

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61 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017


  • developing countries
  • low birth weight
  • global health
  • odds ratio


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