Socioeconomic factors and low birth weight in Mexico

Torres-Arreola, Laura P.; Constantino-Casas, Patricia; Flores-Hernández, Sergio; Villa-Barragán, Juan Pablo; Rendón-Macías, Enrique
January 2005
BMC Public Health;2005, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p20
Academic Journal
Background: Low birth weight (LBW) is a public health problem linked to lack of equity in populations. Despite efforts to decrease the proportion of newborns with LBW, success has been quite limited. In recent years, studies focused on explaining how social factors influence this problem have shown that populations with greater inequities have a greater proportion of newborns with LBW. Methods: The objective was to describe socioeconomic factors related to LBW adjusted by demographic, reproductive and health services variables in Mexico City. A case-control study was carried out in three hospitals with gynaecological and obstetrics services in Mexico City during the first half of 1996. During the recruiting period all children with LBW (cases), defined as newborns weighing <2500 grams, were matched with children born on the same day to control for time of birth. Upon arrival at the hospital for delivery, women were interviewed to determine if they met our inclusion criteria. Women with a history of chronic conditions and those with twin or multiple pregnancies were excluded. Variables with clinical and statistical significance were included in a multivariate model (logistic regression). Results: We found that low socioeconomic level was the most important risk factor for LBW and was independent of other factors, including those related to reproduction and nutrition, smoking, morbidity during pregnancy, accessibility to health services and prenatal care (OR 2.68; 95% CI 1.19, 6.03). Conclusion: We found that socioeconomic factors are relevant to LBW. However further research should be done in different population groups as well as developing precise ways of measuring socioeconomic factors and their role in reproductive health.


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