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Title

Low birth weight in Iran: Implications from a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis in the period 1999-2017

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Abstract

 Background: Low birth weight (LBW), a crucial determinant of neonatal complications, represents a major public health concern worldwide. Epidemiological research is of crucial importance for designing and implementing ad hoc interventions for this issue, helping and guiding decision-and policy-makers in each country to prevent the increased prevalence of LBW in infants through estimating the prevalence rate, identifying and controlling major risk factors. The present investigation aimed to systematically assess LBW prevalence rate in Iran and its determinants. Methods: PubMed/Medline via Ovid, Embase, Web of Science and Scopus as well as MagIran, SID and Irandoc were searched from inception until November 2016. Also, the grey literature (via Google Scholar) was mined. The DerSimonian-Laird model was exploited. The I2 and Q-test tests were used to investigate heterogeneity between the studies. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses were performed to ensure the robustness and validity of our findings. Different cumulative meta-analyses were conducted stratifying according to the year of publication and sample size. Any potential bias in publication was assessed carrying out the Egger’ s test. Results: LBW prevalence rate was estimated to be 8% (95%CI: 7-9) in Iran. Sensitivity analysis confirmed the stability of finding. Studies were cumulated by the year of publication, and the results did not change pre-and post-cumulative meta-analysis. No publication bias could be observed. Conclusion: LBW prevalence rate in Iran is well comparable with the prevalence figures of both developed and developing countries. This could be due to the health reforms implemented in Iran throughout the years.

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