Maternal Food Consumption Patterns and Risk of Low Birth Weight in Rural Maharashtra

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  • Dept. of Community Medicine, MIMER Medical College, Talegaon Dabhade, Maharashtra
  • Biometry & Nutrition Group, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune - 411 004


Low Birth Weight, Maternal BMI, Maternal Dietary Consumption.


Inadequate nutritional intakes, both in quality and quantity, during gestation have strong impact on birth outcome. Therefore, maternal consumption of specific food(s), besides total nutrient intake may influence birth weight. But the experimental evidence is scarce. The study was conducted on 354 full term mothers from rural Maharashtra for socioeconomic, demographic and anthropometric (maternal and neonatal) measures. Dietary consumption pattern was assessed using semi quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Mothers were thin (weight 46±17.2 kg), short (height 151±15.8 cm) and 25.2 % were undernourished (BMI <18 kg/m2). Mean birth weight was 2548±309 g while the prevalence of low birth weight (LBW) was 44.8 % and was inversely associated with maternal weight (p=0.021) and BMI (p=0.013). Maternal diets were predominantly cereal based, lacked variety and 75% of the mothers were having calorie intake below 80% of RDA while 50 and 20% were below this cut off for protein and fat intake respectively. Significantly high risk for LBW was seen for young (<20 yrs) mothers (OR=2.25; CI: 1.14-4.48), those with low family income < Rs. 2000) (OR=2.77; CI: 1.43-5.35) and with low BMI (<18.5 kg/m2) (OR=2.26; CI: 1.32-3.87). Additionally, significant risk for LBW was seen for lower consumption (<1/day) of roti (OR=2.4; CI: 0.80-7.24) and no consumption of milk (OR=2. 3; CI: 1.16-4.75). Observations underscored the importance of maternal diet as dietary modification offers the only modifiable avenue for improving birth weight inpoor populations.


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How to Cite

Raje, S., & Rao, S. (2015). Maternal Food Consumption Patterns and Risk of Low Birth Weight in Rural Maharashtra. The Indian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, 52(2), 153–165. Retrieved from

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