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Parental recall of birth weight: how accurate is it?
  1. John J O'Sullivan,
  2. Mark S Pearce,
  3. Louise Parker
  1. The Department of Child Health, Sir James Spence Institute, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Dr J J O'Sullivan, Department of Paediatric Cardiology, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN, UK email: j.j.o'sullivan{at}


OBJECTIVE To assess the accuracy of parental recall of birth weight in a British population and to investigate whether social class and age of the child significantly influence the accuracy of recalled birth weight.

METHODS A questionnaire was given to parents whose children were participating in a blood pressure study and the hospital records were retrieved to check the birth weight data.

RESULTS At the time of the study, the children (n = 649) ranged in age from 6 to 15 years. Seventy five per cent of the recalled birth weights were within 50 g of that recorded in the hospital records. No significant associations were found between the difference in birth weights (recalled birth weight minus hospital record) and social class of the parents or age of the child at time of data collection.

CONCLUSION This large study shows that parental recall of birth weight is good across the social classes and up to 16 years after delivery. There was no evidence of systematic bias, which would prejudice results of studies on the relation of birth weight to adult hypertension.

  • birth weight
  • parental recall
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