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Open Access Research article

Secular trends of macrosomia in southeast China, 1994-2005

Yanyu Lu12, Jun Zhang3, Xinrong Lu14, Wei Xi15 and Zhu Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China

2 Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing 100020, China

3 MOE-Shanghai Key Laboratory of Children's Environmental Health, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200092, China

4 Chinese Jilin Center For Disease Control and Prevention, Changchun 130062, China

5 School of Public Health, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300100, China

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:818  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-818

Published: 20 October 2011



The rate of macrosomia (birth weight≥4, 000 g) increased over the past four decades in many parts of the world. Macrosomia is associated not only with higher risks of maternal and neonatal complications but also with health risks in adulthood. We examined trends in neonatal macrosomia and large-for-gestational-age (LGA) births among singleton, live, term and postterm births (≥37 complete weeks' gestation) in southeast China from 1994 to 2005 and explored possible causes of the temporal trends.


Data from Perinatal Health Care Surveillance System in 12 cities and counties in southeast China were analyzed for trends in birth weight, neonatal macrosomia and LGA from 1994 to 2005. A total of 594, 472 singleton live births were included. We conducted multiple logistic regression analyses to relate these trends to changes in maternal and pregnancy characteristics.


The rate of macrosomia rose from 6.00% in 1994 to 8.49% in 2000 and then levelled off to 7.83% in 2005. Similar trends were observed in mean birth weight. The incidence of LGA births increased continuously from 13.72% in 1994 to 18.08% in 2000, but the LGA rate remained relatively stable from 2002 to 2005. There was a decrease in gestational age and a significant increase in frequency of prelabor caesarean delivery from 1994 to 2005. In an adjusted multivariable model, the increase in LGA rate from 1994 to 2000 was associated with increasing net gestational weight gain, maternal age, maternal height and maternal education. But they didn't fully explain the increase. The trends of 2002-2005 LGA declined after adjusted for maternal and neonatal characteristics.


In southeast China, the incidence of macrosomia increased from 1994 to 2000 was mainly related to increasing net gestational weight gain. The incidence of macrosomia has levelled off in recent years partly due to increasing use of prelabor caesarean delivery and earlier delivery and partly due to moderation of gestational weight gain.