Chest and mid-arm circumferences: identification of low birth weight newborns in Turkey

J Trop Pediatr. 1995 Feb;41(1):34-7. doi: 10.1093/tropej/41.1.34.


The present study was performed to find out which anthropometric measurement(s) could efficiently be substituted for weight to detect neonates with low birth weight at birth. A total of 874 neonates, between 32 and 43 weeks of gestational age were measured within 24 h of birth to interpret the validity of anthropometric measurements. Low birth weight was observed in 10 per cent of the neonates. The study showed a significant correlation (P < 0.001) between chest circumference, mid-arm circumference, head circumference, length, and birth weight. However, the correlation was maximum for chest circumference (r = 0.855) and mid-arm circumference (r = 0.791). A chest circumference of < 30 cm and a mid-arm circumference of < 9 cm had the best sensitivity and specificity for identifying neonates with a birth weight of < 2500 g. Chest circumference and/or mid-arm circumference can be used as simple and reliable indicators for predicting low birth weight whenever weighing of newborns is not feasible.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry*
  • Arm
  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Height
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thorax
  • Turkey