An Ecological Study of the Relationship between High Birthweight and Maternal Socioeconomic Indicators among US States

  •  Louay Khir    
  •  Raywat Deonandan    


BACKGROUND: While low birthweight babies are widely recognized as clinically challenging, large for gestational age (LGA) births also pose medical risks. To better understand and address the rise in LGA births in the USA, a better understanding of its population health determinants is indicated.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to measure associations between incidence rates of LGA births and (1) trends in maternal health insurance rates and (2) per capita state healthcare spending rates in US states.

METHODS: Using public data from the CDC's Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) online natality database, the Current Population Survey of the United States Census Bureau, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we computed Pierson's correlation coefficient for rates of LGA births, the percentage of women without healthcare insurance, and state-level governmental spending on health care, across 50 states and the District of Columbia.

RESULTS: There is substantial correlation between rates LGA incidence and the proportion of insured women in a state (r2=0.47) and moderate correlation with the extent of governmental healthcare spending (r2=0.17).

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