Foot tape measure for identification of low birth weight newborns

Indian Pediatr. 1993 Jan;30(1):25-9.


The majority of births in rural India take place at home, Logistic constraints make early and reliable identification of low birth weight babies difficult. Using neonatal foot length as a proxy measure for birth weight, we devised a tri colored foot tape intended for use at home by the neonatal caretaker or birth attendant. The tape was field tested in a rural community in the Pune district. Results showed a sensitivity of 68.2% and a predictive value of 45.5% for identifying low birth weight. For very low birth weights (< 1500 g) the sensitivity was 100%, specificity 95.2% and the positive predictive value 60%. Interobserver reliability comparing a trained medical social worker and the household member was high (kappa score of 0.82). If implemented on a larger scale this simple, low cost technology has the potential to significantly enhance the yield of identification of low birth weight babies born at home.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Body Constitution
  • Foot / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity