National and subnational trends of birthweight in Peru: Pooled analysis of 2,927,761 births between 2012 and 2019 from the national birth registry

Rodrigo M. Carrillo-Larco*, Kim N. Cajachagua-Torres, Wilmer Cristobal Guzman-Vilca, Hugo G. Quezada-Pinedo, Carla Tarazona-Meza, Luis Huicho

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: National and subnational characterization of birthweight profiles lacks in low- and middle-income countries, yet these are needed for monitoring the progress of national and global nutritional targets. We aimed to describe birthweight indicators at the national and subnational levels in Peru (2012-2019), and by selected correlates. Methods: We studied mean birthweight (g), low birthweight (<2,500 g) and small for gestational age (according to international growth curves) prevalences. We analysed the national birth registry and summarized the three birthweight indicators at the national, regional, and province level, also by geographic area (Coast, Highlands, and Amazon). With individual-level data from the mother, we described the birthweight indicators by age, educational level and healthcare provider. Following an ecological approach (province level), we described the birthweight indicators by human development index (HDI), altitude above sea level, proportion of the population living in poverty and proportion of rural population. Findings: Mean birthweight was always the lowest in the Highlands (2,954 g in 2019) yet the highest in the Coast (3,516 g in 2019). The same was observed for low birthweight and small for gestational age. In regions with Coast and Highlands, the birthweight indicators worsen from the Coast to the Highlands; the largest absolute difference in mean birthweight between Coast and Highlands in the same region was 367 g. All birthweight indicators were the worst in mothers with none/initial education, while they improved with higher HDI. Interpretation: This analysis suggests that interventions are needed at the province level, given the large differences observed between Coast and Highlands even in the same region. Funding: Wellcome Trust (214185/Z/18/Z)

Original languageEnglish
Article number100017
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Americas
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

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