263589 Effectiveness of Federal Healthy Start in improving feto-infant morbidity associated with absent fathers: A quasi-experimental design

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hamisu Salihu, MD, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Euna M. August, MPH , Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Abraham Salinas, MD, MPH , Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Alfred Mbah, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Amina Alio, PhD , Department of Community & Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Estrellita Lo Berry, MA , REACHUP, Inc., Tampa, FL
Background: The absence of fathers during pregnancy increases the risk of feto-infant morbidities, including low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth (PTB), and small for gestational age (SGA). Although previous research has shown that Central Hillsborough Healthy Start (CHHS) a federally-funded initiative in Tampa, Florida has effectively improved birth outcomes, its effectiveness in ameliorating adverse effects of fathers' absence during pregnancy has not been explored. Methods: This population-based, retrospective cohort study used records from a Federal Healthy Start project (CHHS) linked to vital statistics and hospital discharge data (1998-2007). The study population consisted of women who had a singleton birth with an absent father during pregnancy. Women were categorized based on whether they resided within the CHHS service area. To provide unbiased estimation of treatment-effects, propensity score matching was performed to match cases (CHHS) to controls (rest of Florida). Conditional logistic regression was employed to generate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for matched observations. Results: Women residing within the CHHS service area were more likely to be black, younger (<35 years), and to have at least a high school degree with adequate prenatal care compared to controls (p<0.01). These differences disappeared after propensity score matching. Mothers in the CHHS service area had a reduced likelihood of LBW (OR=0.76, 95% CI=0.65-0.89) and PTB (OR=0.72, 95% CI=0.62-0.84) compared to the rest of the state. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that a Federal Healthy Start project contributed to a significant reduction in adverse birth outcomes among families with absent fathers.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the Federal Healthy Start Program and their services. 2. Describe the impact of father absenteeism on birth outcomes.

Keywords: Birth Outcomes, Partner Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized and led all aspects of study design and implementation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.