Maternal dietary diversity and odds of low birth weight: Empirical findings from India

Anu Rammohan, Srinivas Goli, Deepti Singh, Dibyasree Ganguly, Uma Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


India has the highest proportion of low birth weight (LBW) babies born in the developing world. Poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy is associated with adverse infant health outcomes. The main objective of this paper was to assess the socioeconomic factors associated with dietary diversity among pregnant women and to investigate the association between maternal dietary diversity and LBW among their babies. The data for these analyses were derived from a survey conducted in November and December, 2014 among 230 women who had newly delivered in hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, the largest Indian state that has the poorest maternal outcomes in the country. The results from multivariate binary logistic regression model indicated that low maternal education and economic status was significantly associated with poor dietary diversity among participants. Also, women with low maternal dietary diversity had a significantly higher proportion of LBW babies compared to those in the medium to high dietary diversity categories. From a policy perspective, these findings suggest that continuous tracking of pregnant women’s nutritional needs through existing monitoring systems, e.g., the Nutrition Resource Platform and Health Management Information System, and necessary interventions through Integrated Child Development Services may yield better results, thereby, addressing maternal under-nutrition and LBW.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-390
Number of pages16
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number4
Early online date17 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2019


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