Chhea Chhorvann, Por Ir, and Heng Sopheab. 2017. Low Birth Weight of Institutional Births in Cambodia: Analysis of the 2010 and 2014 Demographic and Health Surveys. DHS Working Paper No. 131. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF.
Low birth weight (LBW), an important risk factor for early childhood mortality and morbidity, is a major public health concern in developing countries. In Cambodia, the prevalence of LBW remains at levels above the average East Asia and the Pacific. Using data from two Cambodia Demographic and Health Surveys in 2010 and 2014, this study examined the prevalence of LBW across provinces in Cambodia, tracked changes over time, and identified factors associated with LBW. Analyses were restricted to the youngest singleton babies born at health facilities. The results show that the prevalence of LBW remained stable between 2010 and 2014, at around 7% of all institutional births, but with significant variation across provinces. Factors significantly associated with LBW included mother’s education, number of antenatal care visits, and child’s birth order. Babies born to mothers with no education were more likely to have LBW compared with those whose mothers had secondary or higher education. Babies born to mothers who had fewer than four antenatal care visits during the pregnancy were more likely to have LBW compared with those whose mothers had at least four antenatal care visits. First-born babies were at greater risk of LBW than second-born babies. The results point to key subpopulations at greater risk and to regions where LBW is particularly prevalent. Programs should target the provinces where prevalence of LBW remains high. Illiterate women, especially those pregnant for the first time, should be a program priority. The current national program policy, which recommends that pregnant women have at least four antenatal care visits during pregnancy, should be further reinforced and implemented. Program design should consider ways to communicate the importance of women making the recommended number of antenatal care visits, especially those with no formal education.