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Prevalence of and socioeconomic gradient in low birth weight in Ethiopia: further analysis of the 2016 demographic and health survey data
Authors: Gebretsadik Shibre and Mulugeta Tamire
Source: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth , DOI:
Topic(s): Birth weight
Wealth Index
Country: Africa
Published: OCT 2020
Abstract: Background: Evidence suggests appearance of socioeconomic gradient in the probability of low birth weight (LBW). Such evidence, however, is scanty in Ethiopia. The study aimed to examine the prevalence of and socioeconomic gradient in LBW in Ethiopia. Method: Data for the study were drawn from the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2016. The 2016 EDHS is the fourth wave in the series of nationally representative household surveys carried out in the country to deliver up-to-date health and demographic indicators for the Ethiopian population. Women aged 15 to 49 years were the main focus of the survey, with data also gathered from men aged 15 to 59 years and under five children. The study pursued complex sampling strategy to draw samples representative at national as well as at urban and rural levels. The data are available to the public domain and were accessed from the MEASURE DHS following registration. Multivariable logistic regression model and marginal standardization were used to estimate socioeconomic gradient in the probability of LBW. We performed sensitivity analysis to evaluate variation of LBW according to different categories of socioeconomic position. Maternal education and household wealth were used as measures of the socioeconomic position in the study. Results: 13.2% (95% confidence interval = 10.73, 15.65) of births were complicated by LBW. The findings showed that socioeconomic gradient was evident between maternal education and LBW; as education increases from no education to secondary education, the probability of occurrence of LBW consistently declined. However, no gradient in LBW was detected for household wealth. Conclusions: We have identified education gradient in LBW, with the highest burden of LBW occurring among the non-educated women. To redress the observed education disparity in LBW, targeted interventions need to be implemented with greater emphasis placed on illiterate women.