The effects of low birth weight on school performance and behavioral outcomes of elementary school children in Oman

M. Mazharul Islam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Our study aimed to examine the effects of low birth weight (LBW) on the school performance and behavior of elementary school children in Oman. Methods: Data were gathered through a cross-sectional survey of nine elementary schools from the Muscat and A’Dhahirah regions. The study utilized a unique database created by linking information from the children’s health cards and current academic and behavioral performance records. Information on children’s performance in various areas such as language, mathematics, science, information technology, sports, and behavior were obtained from the school registers. Birth weight (BW) and selected sociodemographic data were obtained from the copy of their health cards kept by each school. A total of 542 elementary school children aged 7–11 years, who had completed grades 2–4, were surveyed. Results: Data from the school register revealed a very high rate (17.7%) of LBW and, overall, 12% of the children exhibited below average performance on selected outcome measures. The below average school performance varied from 5–17% across the six selected areas of school performance. The highest rate of below average performance was observed in science (17%), followed by arithmetic and language (16% each). BW showed significant differential effects on school performance and behavioral outcomes, which remained significant after controlling for the effect of potential confounders. It was found that LBW children were 2–6 times more likely to have poorer school performance in all areas than their normal BW peers. Conclusion: Early intervention programs or special care for LBW children in school could be an effective means of improving educational outcomes and the behavior of these children. Attempts should be made to reduce or prevent poor pregnancy outcomes, which, in turn, would reduce the cost of the health, education, and social services systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalOman Medical Journal
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Infant
  • Low birth weight
  • Oman
  • School age population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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