Mid-arm circumference as an anthropometric alternative for predicting low birth weight among full-term singlet:a port harcourt study

Paul C.W., Aigbogun (Jr), E.O.,Orji-Sam, N.D and Didia, B.C

Background: Withhigh patronage of unskilled and less trained birth attendants, particularly at rural areas, there is need to finda less expensive and faster technique to identify low birth weight (LBW) babies to ensure prompt intervention and close supervision to reduce post-natal developmental complications. Aim and Objective: This study evaluated the use of mid-arm circumference (MAC) as reliable alternative to identify LBW babies in Port Harcourt. Materials and methods: The study was a cross-sectional research involving direct linear measurement of the mid-arm circumference (MAC) and birth weight (BW) of 500 singleton babies, using standard procedures. All measurements were taken within 24 hours of delivery at two Tertiary Health Facilities in Port Harcourt from February to November 2014.The obtained data were analysed using Minitab® 2013 (version 17.1.0) Statistical Software. Pearson’s correlation analysis evaluated the strength of the relationship between birth weight and MAC, with the regression equation used to determine the cut-off value. Results: 19 out of 500 (3.8%) infants had BWless than 2.5kg. The mean weight and MAC of the babies were3.33±0.51kg (males; 3.38±0.52kg, and females; 3.27±0.50kg) and 11.11±0.92cm (males; 11.17±0.88cm, and females; 11.03±0.97cm) respectively. MAC had a significant strong (+ve) correlation with birth weight in both sexes (male; r=0.877and females; r= 0.868). From the generalised regression equation [Birth weight (kg) = -2.04 + 0.483 (MAC)], MACof 9.5cm corresponded to 2.5kg birth weight ‘cut-off’ value. Conclusion: Nigerian babies with MAC <9.5cm can be said to have LBW. MAC is one anthropometric parameters thathas proven to be a reliable alternative for identifying LBW babies and therefore recommended for use, as it does not require any professional skill.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24327/ijcar.2017.6581.0971
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