Is Birth Weight a Good Predictor of Child Mortality in Developing Countries? Results from Recent National Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa

Adébiyi Germain Boco, Université de Montréal

Less attention has been paid to the relationship between low birth weight (LBW) and the risk of dying before age 5. We exploit recent national survey data to explore whether LBW is associated with increased risk of child mortality in Africa. Specifically, we apply a multivariate piecewise constant hazard model with gamma-shared frailty to the latest Demographic and Health Survey data for Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. In all countries, life table estimates of the risk of dying before age 5 indicate that LBW is associated with a higher probability of dying not only in infancy but also during childhood. After controlling for potential confounding factors, LBW is a very strong predictor of mortality risk during the first five years of life. We find also strong evidence of the impact of LBW status on the risk of dying before age 5 based on exposure time.

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Presented in Session 86: Determinants of Child Survival in Africa