The present study was performed to find out which anthropometric measurement(s) could efficiently be substituted for weight to detect neonates with low birth weight at birth. A total of 874 neonates, between 32 and 43 weeks of gestational age were measured within 24 h of birth to interpret the validity of anthropometric measurements. Low birth weight was observed in 10 per cent of the neonates. The study showed a significant correlation (P<0.001) between chest circumference, mid-arm circumference, head circumference, length, and birth weight. However, the correlation was maximum for chest circumference (r=0.855) and mid-arm circumference (r=0.798). A chest circumference of <30 cm and a mid-arm circumference of <9 cm had the best sensitivity and specificity for identifying neonates with a birth weight of <2500 g. Chest circumference and/or mid-arm circumference can be used as simple and reliable indicators for predicting low birth weight whenever weighing of newborns is not feasible.