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Intergenerational relationships between socioeconomic factors and low birth weight among African-American and white women

Debbie Barrington, MPH, Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, 1214 South University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2548, 734-615-9207, dbarring@umich.edu

BACKGROUND: Maternal socioeconomic factors such as race and education are well-documented risk factors that affect the delivery of a low birth weight (LBW) infant. This descriptive study examines relationships across generations between socioeconomic position and infant LBW within African-American and white women. METHODS: Using 1968 to 2001 data from an ongoing U.S. longitudinal study, an intergenerational sample linked through the maternal line was analyzed. The first generation (G1) consisted of 471 white and 600 African-American infants. Among these infants, 487 females matured to give birth to the second generation (G2) of 382 white and 412 black infants. RESULTS: In G1, 5.80% of white and 10.05% of black infants were LBW, while in G2 LBW was 4.89% for white and 8.35% for black infants. LBW among G1 white mothers with < 12 years of education was 9.54%, 12 years of education 4.72% and with > 12 years of education 4.33%; for G2 white women, LBW was 5.52%, 5.83%, and 3.50%, respectively. LBW among African-American mothers with education <12 years, 12 years, and > 12 years was 12.44%, 9.68%, and 3.86% within G1, and 6.93%, 9.10% and 11.79% respectively within G2. CONCLUSION: The previous inverse linear relationship between education and infant LBW among G1 black women was reversed in G2 blacks. The black-white gap in LBW widened with increasing educational levels among G2 mothers. Changing relationships between LBW and socio-demographic factors support further intergenerational research and investigation into other factors contributing to increased LBW vulnerability in African-American women of higher socioeconomic position.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Low Birthweight, Epidemiology

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.

The Third Annual Outstanding Student Papers in Maternal and Child Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA