A prospective study of biological factors for low birthweight (LBW) among UAE nationals in the Al An Medical District was undertaken from 15 January 1992 to 14 January 1993, using a case control method. All 293 mothers of LBW infants and an equal number of mothers of the next normal weight infants born after the LBW infant were studied, Of the 3,485 live births, 293 (8.4%) were LBW (less than 2,500 g). Maternal age less than 25 years, lighter weight at booking, nulliparity, first cousin marriage and short interpregnancy interval (IPI) of 3 months or less significantly increased the risk of LBW in this population. After adjusting for other biologic confounders, only low maternal weight and short IPI significantly increased the risk of LBW. Modification of these biologic risk factors would help to reduce the incidence of LBW among the UAE population. (C) 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.