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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
5131.0: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 1:00 PM

Abstract #115060

Facing the realities of the American dream: Upward maternal socioeconomic mobility and Black-White disparities in infant birthweight

Cynthia G. Colen, PhD, MPH1, Arline T. Geronimus, ScD2, John Bound, PhD2, and Sherman A. James, PhD3. (1) RWJ Health & Society Scholars, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W. 168th St., New York, NY 10032, 212-305-9776, cc2557@columbia.edu, (2) Population Studies Center, ISR, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248, (3) Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, 136 Sanford Institute, Box 90245, Durham, NC 27708-0239

I utilize data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and the 1970 U.S. Census of Population and Housing to determine the extent to which upward maternal socioeconomic mobility reduces the probability of giving birth to a low birthweight (LBW) baby among Black and White women in the United States. Multivariate analyses are restricted to female respondents who were living in households at age 14 for which the income to needs ratio (INR) did not exceed 200% of the national poverty threshold. I estimate a series of logistic regression models to determine whether or not increases in family income during the year in which the respondent became pregnant are associated with the risk of low birthweight. Among White women who grew up in or near poverty, the probability of giving birth to a LBW baby decreases by 48% for every one unit increase in the natural logarithm of adult family income once the effects of all other covariates are taken into account. Among African American women who grew up in or near poverty, the relationship between adult family income and low birthweight is also negative; however, the coefficient on the independent variable of interest fails to reach statistical significance at the 0.05 level. Furthermore, maternal health behaviors, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, delayed prenatal care, and inadequate weight gain, appear to have a minimal impact on the association between upward socioeconomic mobility and the risk of low birthweight for both Blacks and Whites.

Learning Objectives:

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    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

    Research and Practices in Maternal and Child Health

    The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA