Contextual risk factors for low birth weight: a multilevel analysis

Gbenga A Kayode, Mary Amoakoh-Coleman, Irene Akua Agyepong, Evelyn K. Ansah, Diederick E Grobbee, Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Low birth weight (LBW) remains to be a leading cause of neonatal death and a major contributor to infant and under-five mortality. Its prevalence has not declined in the last decade in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Asia. Some individual level factors have been identified as risk factors for LBW but knowledge is limited on contextual risk factors for LBW especially in SSA.

METHODS: Contextual risk factors for LBW in Ghana were identified by performing multivariable multilevel logistic regression analysis of 6,900 mothers dwelling in 412 communities that participated in the 2003 and 2008 Demographic and Health Surveys in Ghana.

RESULTS: Contextual-level factors were significantly associated with LBW: Being a rural dweller increased the likelihood of having a LBW infant by 43% (OR 1.43; 95% CI 1.01-2.01; P-value <0.05) while living in poverty-concentrated communities increased the risk of having a LBW infant twofold (OR 2.16; 95% CI 1.29-3.61; P-value <0.01). In neighbourhoods with a high coverage of safe water supply the odds of having a LBW infant reduced by 28% (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.57-0.96; P-value <0.05).

CONCLUSION: This study showed contextual risk factors to have independent effects on the prevalence of LBW infants. Being a rural dweller, living in a community with a high concentration of poverty and a low coverage of safe water supply were found to increase the prevalence of LBW infants. Implementing appropriate community-based intervention programmes will likely reduce the occurrence of LBW infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e109333
Number of pages1
JournalPLoS ONE [E]
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mothers
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Poverty Areas
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Water Supply
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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