Risk factors for low birth weight: results from a case-control study in southern Spain.

Research paper by M M Delgado-Rodríguez, R R Pérez-Iglesias, M M Gómez-Olmedo, A A Bueno-Cavanillas, R R Gálvez-Vargas

Indexed on: 19 May '98Published on: 19 May '98Published in: American Journal of Physical Anthropology


The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of several variables, including altitude of maternal residence, on delivering a low birth weight (LBW) newborn. A case-control study was done. Two hundred forty cases (single newborn weighing less than 2,500 g) and 374 controls (single newborn weighing more than 2,499 g) were included. Information was gathered from the clinical chart of delivering women, through a personal interview and the Spanish Census Bureau (for altitude). Predictors of LBW were assessed through stepwise logistic regression analysis. Several well-known LBW risk factors were identified: hypertension, weight gain during pregnancy, body size (mainly maternal prepregnancy weight), low social class, primiparity, and several conditions (spontaneous delivery, abruptio placentae). Altitude was an independent predictor of LBW at term (more than 37 weeks of gestational age) but not for preterm LBW. Nevertheless, a relationship between altitude and birth weight was not found in controls, although a moderate decreasing gradient with altitude was observed. The limitations of these findings are discussed.