Effects of Maternal food Insecurity on Birth Weight of Neonates: A Prospective Cohort
Keywords:Food insecurity, Low birth weight, Pregnancy, Cohort studies
Pakistani population is seriously malnutritioned and is hunger redisposed. Based on the Global Hunger Index Pakistan is ranked at 107 of 118 countries .Food insecurity is among major causes of under-nutrition and has been associated with low birth weights. This study aimed to assess the effect of maternal food
insecurity on birth weight of neonates in Lahore, Pakistan.Ina prospective cohort conducted at Shalamar Hospital Lahore; from April to August 2016, written informed consents were obtained from 103 eligible pregnant women. Data on demography was collected through a structured questionnaire and exposure was
assessed through 6-items Version of U.S. Household Food Security Survey and cohort was followed until delivery, and birth weight was recorded. Follow up could be completed for 50 women only and response rate was 49%. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and relative risk and multinomial logistic Regression were applied using SPSS version 22. Mean maternal age was 28.100+4.824 years, mean education was 12.400+2.138 years, mean BMI was 29.420+5.075 and mean household income was PKR 25641+16251.543. With these characteristics, the mean birth weight of2.814+0.551 kg was recorded. Four percent (n=2) had very low food security and 34% (n=17) women had low food security. Importantly, food unsecured women had a 5.439 times increased risk of delivering a low birth weight neonate (RR=5.439, CI=1.710-17.296, p=0.002). Regression analysis indicated a significant association (AOR 16.076, CI=2.381-108.564, p=0.004).Based on
these studies, it was concluded that food insecurity in pregnancy is associated with low birth weight in neonates. Antenatal screening of food insecurity and timely provision food supplements through social welfare can help reduce neonatal morbidity and mortality.
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