Canonical correlation analysis of infant's size at birth and maternal factors: A study in rural Northwest Bangladesh

Alamgir Kabir, Rebecca D. Merrill, Abu Ahmed Shamim, Rolf D.W. Klemn, Alain B. Labrique, Parul Christian, Kith P. West, Mohammed Nasser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This analysis was conducted to explore the association between 5 birth size measurements (weight, length and head, chest and mid-upper arm [MUAC] circumferences) as dependent variables and 10 maternal factors as independent variables using canonical correlation analysis (CCA). CCA considers simultaneously sets of dependent and independent variables and, thus, generates a substantially reduced type 1 error. Data were from women delivering a singleton live birth (n = 14506) while participating in a double-masked, cluster-randomized, placebo-controlled maternal vitamin A or β-carotene supplementation trial in rural Bangladesh. The first canonical correlation was 0.42 (P<0.001), demonstrating a moderate positive correlation mainly between the 5 birth size measurements and 5 maternal factors (preterm delivery, early pregnancy MUAC, infant sex, age and parity). A significant interaction between infant sex and preterm delivery on birth size was also revealed from the score plot. Thirteen percent of birth size variability was explained by the composite score of the maternal factors (Redundancy, RY/X = 0.131). Given an ability to accommodate numerous relationships and reduce complexities of multiple comparisons, CCA identified the 5 maternal variables able to predict birth size in this rural Bangladesh setting. CCA may offer an efficient, practical and inclusive approach to assessing the association between two sets of variables, addressing the innate complexity of interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere94243
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 7 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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