Recent evidence suggests potential associations between birthweight and disease in later life. For resource or other reasons recorded birthweight may be unavailable to researchers who have access to uniquely relevant outcome data. The present study examined the validity of parental recall of birthweight. Parents of 1015 males and females aged 12 and 15 years participating in the Young Hearts Study (a cluster random sample of 1015 males and females aged 12 and 15 years from post-primary schools in Northern Ireland) completed a questionnaire which included a question about their child's birthweight. The answer provided was compared with recorded birthweight obtained from archived computerised child health records with a cut-off point for inaccurate reporting set at +/- 227 g (1/2 lb). The influence of social class and weight at birth on accuracy of recall was also determined. A total of 84.8% of parents accurately recalled their child's birthweight to within 227 g. Parents from non-manual occupation social classes recalled birthweight more accurately than those from manual occupation social classes (88.0 vs. 82.6% accurate: chi (2) = 4.81, p = 0.03). Parents of low birthweight infants tended to recall their birthweight less accurately than parents of normal weight infants: 76.1% accurate compared to 86.1% accurate: chi (2) = 3.54, p = 0.06. Parents of high birthweight infants recalled their birthweight less accurately than parents of normal weight infants: 78.5% accurate: chi (2) = 3.94, p = 0.05. In conclusion, parentally recalled birthweight may be a suitable proxy for recorded birthweight for population based research into disease in childhood and adolescence.
|Journal||European Journal of Epidemiology|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 2000|