Birthweight centile charts for South Asian infants born in the UK

Neonatology. 2011;100(4):398-403. doi: 10.1159/000325916. Epub 2011 Jul 25.


Background: UK-born infants of South Asian ethnic origin are known to have lower birthweights than their White British counterparts. When plotted on currently used birthweight charts they can be misclassified as small for gestational age. Similarly, large for gestational age infants can be missed. This has important clinical implications in their management.

Objective: To create birthweight centile charts for the UK-born South Asian infants to identify true small and large for gestational age infants.

Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional analysis of infants born 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2006 was undertaken. The birthweights of the South Asian and White British infants were compared. The LMS method was used to construct centile charts for the South Asian infants.

Results: 24,274 White British and 7,190 South Asian infants were included in the analysis. Overall, the South Asian males were 9-15% lighter than the White British males and the South Asian females were 9-13% lighter than the White British females. At term, the median birthweight for South Asian males was 329 g lower than that for White British males and for South Asian females 295 g less than the White British females.

Conclusion: There are significant differences in the birthweights of White British and UK-born South Asian infants. Hence the standard birthweight centile charts which were designed using the birthweight data of White British infants appear to misclassify a proportion of South Asian infants. Use of ethnic specific birthweight charts would allow better detection of truly growth-restricted and macrosomic South Asian infants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asia, Western / ethnology
  • Birth Weight*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • United Kingdom