An examination of the relationship between maternal and neighborhood-level characteristics and intrauterine growth retardation in Harris County, Texas, 1999--2001

Anna Zakos-Feliberti, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

The persistence of low birth weight and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) in the United States has puzzled researchers for decades. Much of the work that has been conducted on adverse birth outcomes has focused on low birth weight in general and not on IUGR. Studies that have examined IUGR specifically thus far have focused primarily on individual-level maternal risk factors. These risk factors have only been able to explain a small portion of the variance in IUGR. Therefore, recent work has begun to focus on community-level risk factors in addition to the individual-level maternal characteristics. This study uses Social Ecology to examine the relationship of individual and community-level risk factors and IUGR. Logistic regression was used to establish an individual-level model based on 155, 856 births recorded in Harris County, TX during 1999-2001. IUGR was characterized using a fetal growth ratio method with race/ethnic and sex specific mean birth weights calculated from national vital records. The spatial distributions of 114,460 birth records spatially located within the City of Houston were examined using choropleth, probability and density maps. Census tracts with higher than expected rates of IUGR and high levels of neighborhood disadvantage were highlighted. Neighborhood disadvantage was constructed using socioeconomic variables from the 2000 U.S. Census. Factor analysis was used to create a unified single measure. Lastly, a random coefficients model was used to examine the relationship between varying levels of community disadvantage, given the set of individual-level risk factors for 152,997 birth records spatially located within Harris County, TX. Neighborhood disadvantage was measured using three different indices adapted from previous work. The findings show that pregnancy-induced hypertension, previous preterm infant, tobacco use and insufficient weight gain have the highest association with IUGR. Neighborhood disadvantage only slightly further increases the risk of IUGR (OR 1.12 to 1.23). Although community level disadvantage only helped to explain a small proportion of the variance of IUGR, it did have a significant impact. This finding suggests that community level risk factors should be included in future work with IUGR and that more work needs to be conducted. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology|Health Sciences, Public Health|Sociology, Social Structure and Development

Recommended Citation

Zakos-Feliberti, Anna, "An examination of the relationship between maternal and neighborhood-level characteristics and intrauterine growth retardation in Harris County, Texas, 1999--2001" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3198337.
https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI3198337

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