Background: The World Health Organisation has recommended the use of anthropometric measurements as birth weight surrogates. However, it has been found that cut-off points for these anthropometric measurements vary across nations and ethnic groups.
Objectives: To determine the predictive values of chest circumference (CC), occipito-frontal circumference (OFC) and their combinations for low birth weight (LBW) detection in Igbo newborns.
Methods: Live newborns of Igbo origin were recruited within 24 hours of delivery. Their CC, OFC and weight were measured. Cut off points for predicting low birth weight was determined using ROC analysis.
Results: A total of 511 live newborns were recruited. For birth weight <2500 g, cut-off values were: CC 30.9 cm; OFC 33.8 cm; summation of CC and OFC 64.9 cm; ratio of CC to OFC 0.92. For weight <2000 g, the cut-off values were: CC 29.6 cm; OFC 32.8 cm; summation of CC and OFC 63.7 cm; ratio of CC to OFC 0.91. CC correlated best with birth weight (r = 0.918).
Conclusion: CC is the best predictor for LBW.