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Year : 1993  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 103-4

Search for a surrogate parameter of birth weight.

Correspondence Address:
R Biswas

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 8076996

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An estimated seven million babies are born of low birth weight (LBW) annually in India. Birth weight is the most important determinant of survival and freedom from morbidity during the early life of a newborn. Compared to babies of normal birth weight, LBW babies suffer a far higher incidence of birth asphyxia, birth trauma, infective diseases, and malnutrition. LBW newborns are five times more likely to die during the neonatal period and three times more likely to die during infancy compared to newborns of normal birth weight. If LBW is detected in timely fashion, however, intensive neonatal care can mollify the negative impact of the condition's related problems, thus enhancing survival and minimizing the extent of disabling handicaps. A scientifically sound, cheap, and simple way for peripheral health workers to detect LBW babies at the large scale in communities is called for. Any surrogate birth weight parameter must be simple, highly correlated with birth weight, and of reasonably accurate diagnostic ability. Researchers have developed color-coded qualitative measuring tapes with markers for LBW of less than 2 kg, 2-2.5 kg, and above 2.5 kg which are usable by peripheral health workers with little instruction. No consensus has, however, been reached on a surrogate parameter to best predict LBW. Researchers are strongly urged to continue the search.

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