The role of maternal diet and iron-folic acid supplements in influencing birth weight: Evidence from India's national family health survey

Nisha Malhotra, Ravi Prakash Upadhyay, Meenakshi Bhilwar, Nicholas Choy, Timothy Green

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To examine the role of maternal diet in determining low birth weight (LBW) in Indian infants. Methods: Data from the National Family Health Survey (2005-06) were used. Multivariate regression analysis was used to analyse the effect of maternal diet on infant birth weight. Results: Infants whose mothers consumed milk and curd daily [odds ratio (OR), 1.17; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06-1.29]; fruits daily (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.07-1.36) or weekly (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.02-1.24) had higher odds of not having a low birth weight baby. The daily consumption of pulses and beans (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.02-1.36) increased the odds while weekly consumption of fish (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.70-0.89) decreased the odds of not having a LBW infant. Intake of iron-folic acid supplements during pregnancy increased birth weight by 6.46 g per month. Conclusion: Improved intake of micronutrient-rich foods can increase birth weight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-460
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Anaemia
  • Birth size
  • Iron and folic acid supplements
  • Low birth weight
  • Mother's diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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