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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Pediatrics 1/2018

Analysis of low birth weight and its co-variants in Bangladesh based on a sub-sample from nationally representative survey

BMC Pediatrics > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jahidur Rahman Khan, Md. Mazharul Islam, Nabil Awan, Olav Muurlink



Low birth weight (LBW) remains a leading global cause of childhood morbidity and mortality. This study leverages a large national survey to determine current prevalence and socioeconomic, demographic and heath related factors associated with LBW in Bangladesh.


Data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2012–13 of Bangladesh were analyzed. A total of 2319 women for whom contemporaneous birth weight data was available and who had a live birth in the two years preceding the survey were sampled for this study. However, this analysis only was able to take advantage of 29% of the total sample with 71% missing birth weight for newborns. The indicator, LBW (< 2500 g) of infants, was examined as the outcome variable in association with different socioeconomic, demographic and health-related covariates. Mixed-effects logistic regression was performed to identify possible factors related to LBW.


In the selected sub-sample, about 20% of infants were born with LBW, with lowest rates observed in Rajshahi (11%) and highest rates in Rangpur (28%). Education of mothers (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.39–0.68 for secondary or higher educated mother) and poor antenatal care (ANC) (AOR 1.40, 95% CI 1.04–1.90) were associated with LBW after adjusting for mother’s age, parity and cluster effects. Mothers from wealthier families were less likely to give birth to an LBW infant. Further indicators that wealth continues to play a role in LBW were that place of delivery, ANC and delivery assistance by quality health workers were significantly associated with LBW. However there has been a notable fall in LBW prevalence in Bangladesh since the last comparable survey (prevalence 36%), and an evidence of possible elimination of rural/urban disparities.


Low birth weight remains associated with key indicators not just of maternal poverty (notably adequate maternal education) but also markers of structural poverty in health care (notably quality ANC). Results based on this sub-sample indicate LBW is still a public health concern in Bangladesh and an integrated effort from all stakeholders should be continued and interventions based on the study findings should be devised to further reduce the risk of LBW.
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