WASHINGTON POST: Healthier Babies for Low-Income Mothers, 9/23/2014

September 23, 2014

Healthier Babies for Low-Income Mothers

Good news for expectant mothers everywhere: the disparity in newborn health is lessening between high income and low income mothers. This news comes as results of a recent study conducted by Anna Aizer and Janet Currie, professors at Brown and Princeton universities, respectively. These researchers measured newborn health by birth weight, and used race, education and marital status as measures for economic background. Using information from 1989-2009, the study found that 1 in 6 babies born in the economically challenged group were born underweight, whereas only 1 in 32 of higher economic background babies had a low birth weight. As time passed, the economically challenged group of expectant mothers saw their chances of giving birth to an underweight baby decrease to 1 in 8 while wealthier mothers maintained 1 in 32 odds. While only a slight gain, this advance is something to be celebrated and can be attributed to a variety of factors including government programs, improved environmental factors, and a greater awareness of maternal health among low-income groups.


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