Small size at birth as a predictor of increased risk of childhood morbidity, mortality and malnutrition: Evidence from Bangladesh demographic and health survey
AbstractBackground & Aim: Physical size or weight at birth of an infant is an important biomarkerof current and future health and development of the infant. The aim of this study is to examinethe effect of small size at birth – a proxy indicator of low birth weight - on childhoodmortality, morbidity and malnutrition in Bangladesh.Methods & Materials: The data for the study come from the 2014 Bangladesh Demographicand Health Survey. A total of 4,897 live births with information on size at birth as reportedby their mothers were included in the analysis. Both descriptive and multivariate statisticaltechniques were used for data analysisResults: One in every five live births (20%) was reported to be small in size in Bangladesh.Children born with small size at birth have some distinct characteristics than average sizebabies. Significantly higher incidence of malnutrition, mortality and morbidity were foundamong small size babies compared to average size babies. The multivariate analysis identifiedsmall size at birth as a significant predictor of childhood malnutrition, mortality and morbidityfrom diarrhea. Small size infants had 1.6 to 2.2 times higher risk of stunting, wasting orunderweight, 1.6 times higher risk of diarrhea and 2.4 times higher risk of death duringneonatal period than average size infants.Conclusion: Health education to parents and special care for small size babies through trainedhealth workers need to be undertaken for improving the health of small size babies. At thesame time, appropriate policy should be taken to reduce the incidence of small size babies.
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