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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3121.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 10:35 AM

Abstract #105895

A state level analysis of the relationship between women’s social status and child health and well-being in the United States

Allison Appleton1, Alisa K. Lincoln, PhD, MPH1, and Karestan Koenen, PhD2. (1) Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, 617-638-5030, appleton@bu.edu, (2) Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

There is a well-documented association between women's status and child outcomes in developing countries. Societies where women exert more economic and political power also experience better child outcomes, even after accounting for economic development between countries. This association has not been examined in developed societies. This paper offers an important first look at state-level association between women's status and child outcomes in the United States. METHODS: State specific data were extracted from the Institute for Women's Policy Research and the Kids Count Databook. Women's status indicators included political participation, employment and earnings, social and economic autonomy, and reproductive rights. Child outcomes included low birth weight, infant mortality, teen birth, and teen death rates. Bivariate correlations and robust regression weighted by the square root of the population were conducted. Multivariate regression models adjusted for median family income. RESULTS: Correlations indicated strong associations between each women's status indicator and multiple child outcomes. The univariate models showed predictive relationships for low birth weight, infant mortality, teen death, and teen birth rates. Of particular note was a robust association between women's reproductive rights and infant mortality, even after controlling for income (p=0.001). CONCLUSION: In crafting policy to enhance child health, attention should be paid to the status of women. Perhaps the first step for public health practitioners interested in enhancing child health is to design interventions to raise the status of women. By doing so, not only will women's health and quality of life improve, but her children stand to benefit greatly as well.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Child Health, Infant Mortality

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.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

The Fourth Annual Outstanding Student Papers in Maternal and Child Health Showcase

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