Profiling the Determinants of Baby Weights in Bolgatanga Municipality of Ghana

Martin Amalitinga Akansuke, Albert Luguterah, Sylvester Dodzi Nyadanu, Derek Ngbandor Nawumbeni, Timothy Adampah

Abstract


Introduction:

Birth weights and subsequent weights (weight-for-age of babies) have been found to play a vital role in early childhood development and have profound effect on later lives of children. The weight-for-age of babies, as a measure of child’s growth, was found in several literatures as one of the key determinants of under-five mortality. This paper therefore deemed it crucial to explore how prognostic factors are influencing infants’ growth in the weights of babies in Ghana using Bolgatanga municipality in the Upper East region of Ghana as case study.

Method:

The post-natal records of three hundred (300) nursing mothers were retrospectively followed from January to December 2013 in the seven health facilities of the municipality for the study. Inclusion criterion was used to recruit two hundred and thirty five (235) qualified subjects. The weight-for-age of babies and socio-demographics of the babies and the mothers were recorded. The determinants of infant growth in the weights of the babies were profiled.

Results:

The study disclosed that the mean birth weight in both sexes, 2.71kg for males and 2.74kg for females, were higher than the standard normal birth weights of 2.50kg by WHO. The multivariate analysis of variance showed a nonlinear infants growth profile in the weights of babies during their first developmental year. The profile of the determinants showed that factors such as educational status and age of mother, breastfeeding type and sex of baby did not differ in the infants’ weights by these groups even-though higher education and nonexclusive breastfeeding had positive effects. However, maternal factors such as: religious affiliations (socio-cultural practices), occupation, parity, injection as at last type of family planning practiced by nursing mothers were significant, highlighting the effect of these maternal socio-demographics and biological factors on infant growth and child survival.

Conclusion:

The profiles of the effects of the maternal determinants on the weights of babies considered in this study established that infant growth is non-linear. It could also be stated on the basis of the profile analysis that, the weights of babies in this municipality could be modeled for predictions using the maternal determinants such as occupation, parity group, injectable family planning method, breastfeeding type, educational level and socio-cultural practices (religion). The profile analysis of the effects of the maternal socio-demographics and biological factors on infant weights established that the infant’s growth can be improved significantly by the nursing mothers, health service providers and the government if efforts are made to improve and/or modify the significant health indicators. 


Full Text:

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jbls.v6i2.7162

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