The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3138.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 10:45 AM

Abstract #60515

Impact of neighborhoods and social inequality on racial differences in birthweight

Pamela J. Salsberry, PhD, College of Nursing, Ohio State University, 1585 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43215 and Patricia Reagan, PhD, Center for Human Resource Research & Dept. of Economics, Ohio State University, 921 Chatham Lane, Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43221, 614-422-7300,

Objective: This study assessed the contribution of individual income, neighborhood poverty, income inequality, the generosity of social services and maternal age to racial disparities in birthweight. The study reassesses the weathering hypothesis using a data set with mothers from a narrow range of birth cohorts that experienced similar historical circumstances during their youth. Methods: Random effects regression models were developed to determine the effects on (log transformation) birthweight of individual income, census tract poverty rate, regional Gini coefficient(a measure of income inequality), the generosity of social services and maternal age, adjusting for biobehavioral, socioeconomic, and medical risk factors. The sample consists of 6,832 children born to 3,682 African-American and white U.S. women in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979. Results: Among white women the tract poverty rates and Gini coefficient decreased birthweight, whereas generosity of state welfare payments increased birthweight. Among African-American women individual income, tract poverty rates and the Gini coefficient were significant. Motherís age became statistically insignificant when the Gini coefficient was included. Conclusion: Contextual variables were associated with birthweight among infants born to white and African-American women. The age effect for African-American women reported in earlier studies was not found when measures of individual income and contextual disadvantage were included.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Birth Outcomes, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Research on High Risk Birth Outcomes and SIDS/Infant Mortality

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA