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Prevalence of low birth weight and its association with maternal body weight status in selected countries in Africa: a cross-sectional study
Authors: Zhifei He, Ghose Bishwajit, Sanni Yaya, Zhaohui Cheng, Dongsheng Zou, and Yan Zhou
Source: BMJ Open, 8: e020410; DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020410
Topic(s): Birth weight
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Maternal health
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
  Burkina Faso
Published: AUG 2018
Abstract: Objectives The present study aimed to estimate the prevalence of low birth weight (LBW), and to investigate the association between maternal body weight measured in terms of body mass index (BMI) and birth weight in selected countries in Africa. Setting Urban and rural household in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda. Participants Mothers (n=11?418) aged between 15 and 49 years with a history of childbirth in the last 5?years. Results The prevalence of LBW in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda was, respectively, 13.4%, 10.2%, 12.1%, 15.7% and 10%. Compared with women who are of normal weight, underweight mothers had a higher likelihood of giving birth to LBW babies in all countries except Ghana. However, the association between maternal BMI and birth weight was found to be statistically significant for Senegal only (OR=1.961 (95% CI 1.259 to 3.055)). Conclusion Underweight mothers in Senegal share a greater risk of having LBW babies compared with their normal-weight counterparts. Programmes targeting to address infant mortality should focus on promoting nutritional status among women of childbearing age. Longitudinal studies are required to better elucidate the causal nature of the relationship between maternal underweight and LBW.