Transgenerational effect of neighborhood poverty on low birth weight among African Americans in Cook County, Illinois

Collins, J. W., Jr.; David, R. J.; Rankin, K. M.; Desireddi, J. R.

Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Jan 31; 169(6):712-7


In perinatal epidemiology, transgenerational risk factors are defined as conditions experienced by one generation that affect the pregnancy outcomes of the next generation. The authors investigated the transgenerational effect of neighborhood poverty on infant birth weight among African Americans. Stratified and multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed on an Illinois transgenerational data set with appended US Census income information. Singleton African-American infants (n = 40,648) born in 1989-1991 were considered index births. The mothers of index infants had been born in 1956-1976. The maternal grandmothers of index infants were identified. Rates of infant low birth weight (<2,500 g) rose as maternal grandmother's residential environment during her pregnancy deteriorated, independently of mother's residential environment during her pregnancy. In a multilevel logistic regression model that accounted for clustering by maternal grandmother's residential environment, the adjusted odds ratio (controlling for mother's age, education, prenatal care, cigarette smoking status, and residential environment) for infant low birth weight for maternal grandmother's residence in a poor neighborhood (compared with an affluent neighborhood) equaled 1.3 (95% confidence interval: 1.1, 1.4). This study suggests that maternal grandmother's exposure to neighborhood poverty during her pregnancy is a risk factor for infant low birth weight among African Americans.

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