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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Obstetrics - Public Health and Epidemiology

Wealth Status, Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) and Antenatal Care (ANC) Are Determinants for Low Birth Weight in Kersa, Ethiopia
Published: Friday, June 29, 2012
Author: Nega Assefa et al.

by Nega Assefa, Yemane Berhane, Alemayehu Worku


Low Birth Weight (LBW) is one of the major risk factor for death in early life. However, little is known about predictors of LBW in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, the aim of this study was to measure the incidence and determinants of LBW in a rural population of Ethiopia.


An observational cohort study on pregnant women was conducted from December 2009 to November 2010. During the study period 1295 live birth were registered and the weights of 956 children were measured within 24 hours after birth. Socio-demographic, economic, maternal and organizational factors were considered as a predicators of LBW, defined as birth weight below 2500g. Logistic regression was used to analyze the data, odds ratio (OR) and confidence intervals (CI) are reported.


The incidence of LBW was 28.3%. It is significantly associated with poverty [OR 2.1; 95% CI: 1.42, 3.05], maternal Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) less than 23 cm [OR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.19, 2.19], not attending ANC [OR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.12, 2.28], mother’s experience of physical violence during pregnancy [OR 1.7; 95% CI: 1.12, 2.48], and longer time to walk to health facility [OR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.11, 2.40].

Conclusion and Recommendation

The incidence of LBW was high in Kersa. Babies born to women who were poor, undernourished, experienced physical violence during pregnancy and who had poor access to health services were more likely to be LBW in this part of the country.In this largely poor community where ANC coverage is low, to reduce the incidence of LBW, it is essential to improve access for maternal health care. The involvement of husbands and the community at large to seek collective action on LBW is essential.