Usefulness of anthropometric measurements to identify low birth weight babies

Hariharan S, Anupama Deka


Background: India alone accounts for 40 per cent of LBW births in the developing world. More than half (58 percent) of births are not weighed. According to NFHS-3 survey (2005-2006) only 34% of births were weighed at birth and 22% of them were of LBW (<2.5kgs). Objective: To compare the sensitivity and specificity of various anthropometric indicators and to determine the relationship between birth weight and the anthropometric indicators to find out the most precious indicator in detection of LBW babies. Methods: The study was carried out on 500 newborns delivered in Silchar medical college hospital, over a period of one year, from July 2015 to June2016. Birth weight was recorded within 24 hours of birth. All anthropometric measurements were carried out within 48 hours of birth. The collected data was analyzed by using ROC curve for calculating sensitivity and specificity. To establish the co-relation between birth weight and anthropometric measurements karl pearson correlation co-efficient was used. Results: The critical cut-off values for a birth weight of 2.5 kg were 30.6cm, 8.8cm, 14 cm and 9.3 cm for chest circumference, mid-arm circumference, thigh circumference and calf circumference and the sensitivity & specificity were 90.40% & 90.71%, 89.93% & 96.28%, 85.31% & 95.36% and 85.88% & 90.09% respectively. Mid-arm circumference had highest value of correlation co-efficient (0.972) in relation to birth weight. Conclusion: Mid-arm circumference of ≤8.8 cm at birth is a simple, reliable, cost effective and culturally acceptable method for screening the at risk neonate <2500 gm

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