Differences in small-for-gestational-age and preterm birth among Asian subgroups in relation to nativity status

Jessica Kan, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This retrospective cohort study examined the association between nativity status and very preterm birth, preterm birth, and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) among Asian subgroups using Texas birth certificate data with no personal identifiers. A total of 877,322 birth certificates of Asian and US-born white women with a singleton birth in Texas from 2001-2004 were analyzed. Birth certificate records of US-born white, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Asian Indian women with a singleton birth were included in the analysis. Logistic regressions models were used to explore and understand the differences of the effect of nativity status on birth outcomes in Asian subgroups with US-born whites as the reference group. Most of the Asian subgroups had a lower risk of preterm births compared with US born whites, with reductions in risk ranging from 19% to 49% and the lowest risk of preterm birth observed among foreign-born Chinese mothers. Only Filipino mothers had a higher risk of preterm birth compared to US-born whites. Overall, foreign-born Asians had lower risks for very preterm birth and preterm birth than US-born Asians and US-born whites. US-born Asians were at higher risk for preterm birth than US-born whites. For SGA, all Asian subgroups and Asian subgroups by nativity status were at higher risk of SGA than US-born whites. Asian Indians and Japanese were at highest risk for SGA infants with 2.5 to 3 times the risk of SGA present in US-born whites. Foreign-born Asian women were at higher risk for SGA than their US-born counterparts. This study showed that health disparities among Asian subgroups are hidden by classifying Asians into a single group. By examining Asian subgroups separately and looking at nativity status, the differences in risk of SGA and preterm birth can be revealed so prevention efforts can focus on high risk groups.

Subject Area

Obstetrics|Gynecology|Public health|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Kan, Jessica, "Differences in small-for-gestational-age and preterm birth among Asian subgroups in relation to nativity status" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450344.