Maternal Obesity Ups Early Neonatal Mortality in Africa
THURSDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- For women in
sub-Saharan Africa, maternal obesity correlates with increased
risk of early neonatal mortality, according to a study
published online Aug. 9 in The Lancet.
Jenny A. Cresswell, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene
and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues examined whether maternal
obesity is a risk factor for neonatal death in sub-Saharan
Africa using pooled data from cross-sectional Demographic and
Health Surveys from 27 sub-Saharan countries (2003 to
The researchers found that, of the 81,126 eligible women,
15,518 were overweight, 4,266 were obese, 52,006 had an optimum
body mass index, and 13,602 were underweight. After adjustment
for confounding factors, maternal obesity correlated with an
increased likelihood of neonatal death (adjusted odds ratio
[aOR], 1.46). Maternal obesity was found to be a significant
risk factor for neonatal mortality within the first two days of
life (aOR, 1.62), but there was no significant correlation
later in the neonatal period (days two to six: aOR, 1.36; 95
percent confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 2.21; days seven to
27: aOR, 1.19; 95 percent CI, 0.65 to 2.18).
"More robust longitudinal studies are needed to establish a
causal relation between maternal obesity and neonatal deaths,"
the authors write. "If the association is confirmed, the public
health implications are that obese women should be strongly
advised to deliver in a health facility capable of providing
prompt emergency obstetric and neonatal care."
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