Evaluation of Calf circumference as a procedure to screen low birth weight babies: a hospital based cross sectional study


  • Arshiya Rehman Sheikh Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
  • Sushama Subhash Thakre Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
  • Subhash Thakre Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Gondia, Maharashtra, India
  • Chaitanya Rangangouda Patil Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
  • Prithvi B. Petkar Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India




Calf circumference, Low birth weight, Newborn


Background: In spite of the interventions being taken, low birth weight still persists as a public health problem in low and middle-income countries. World Health Organization defines low birth weight as birth weight less than 2500 gm. There is a constant search to find newer methods to detect low birth weight babies so that early methods can be instituted. This study was conducted to evaluate calf circumference as procedure to screen low birth weight babies in tertiary care hospital in Nagpur.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in tertiary care hospital of Nagpur, Maharashtra for a period of 4 months. The study subjects were babies delivered at the hospital. Birth weight was recorded using a digital weighing scale within 24 hours of the delivery. Length, calf circumference, head and chest circumference were measured according to standard guidelines.

Results: Majority of mothers were in the age group of 20 to 24 years of age group, were educated up to primary school and belonged to Hindu religion. The mean calf circumference of low birth weight babies was 9.64±1.13 cm and was 10.96±1.01 cm in normal weight babies. The mean values of calf circumference were significantly lower in low birth weight babies (p <0.001). The sensitivity and specificity for the best cut off of calf circumference was found to be 89.97% and 42.86% respectively.

Conclusions: Measuring calf circumference was found to be a good test with higher sensitivity but lower specificity. Hence, calf circumference can be used as an alternative method to screen babies born in remote areas, where the facility of weighing the baby at birth is not available.


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