Determinants of low birth weight: A comparative study

Barthelemy Kuate Defo, Melissa Partin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The study compares biological, socioeconomic and behavioural determinants of low birthweight in Cameroon and the United States. Some factors in low birthweight are found to be cross-national, but others are specific to the setting. Positive risk factors of low birthweight in both countries include unmarried motherhood, female sex, multiple births, and preterm births. Outcome of the previous pregnancy is a positive risk factor in the US, but not in Cameroon. Significant negative risk factors include prenatal care visits (in both countries), mother’s education (in the US only), births to mothers aged 20–34 and birth orders of 2 or more (in Cameroon only). Separate analyses of all births and the subsamples of singleton births reveal that estimates for the two groups differ only marginally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-100
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biosocial Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Training Grant HD0714 and by a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation. Computing resources were provided by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Grant HD05876 to the Center for Demography and Ecology. The authors thank Mari Palta, Robert Mare, Paula Lantz, and Robert Jones for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.


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