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Racial discrimination linked to increased risk of underweight and premature babies

premature baby
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Experience of racial discrimination based on race, Color or national origin is associated with increased risk of underweight and/or preterm infants BMJ Global Health .

These findings add to existing evidence that racial discrimination is a risk for poor health, researchers say factor.

For decades, race has been recognized as a social determinant of health and a risk factor for many diseases. There is growing evidence that upstream social, environmental, economic and political factors are underlying drivers of health inequalities, and that the underlying cause is often racism, not race.

For example, the maternal mortality rate for black and Native American women is 2-3 times higher than for white women. Likewise, in the UK, the maternal mortality rate for black and Asian women is 2-4 times higher than for white women.

To explore existing patterns of racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes, researchers searched eight electronic databases for Self-reported racial stigma and pregnancy associated with preterm birth (before 37 weeks), low birth weight, and hypertension, and published until January 2022.

Results from a total of 24 studies were included in the final analysis, with each study ranging from 39 to 9470 participants not wait. Most (20) studies were conducted in the United States.

Study participants had diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, including black or African American , Hispanic, Non-Hispanic White, Maori, Pacific, Asian, Aboriginal, Roma, Aboriginal German and Turk.

Pooled data analysis showed that for all outcomes studied, the experience of racial discrimination was associated with preterm birth and small for gestational age associated with an increased risk to the infant.

The overall chance of preterm birth is estimated to be 40% higher. When low-quality studies were excluded, the odds of preterm birth were reduced, but still 31% higher. Although not statistically significant, the overall odds of being small for gestational age were estimated to be 23 percent higher.

Similar results were obtained when further analysis of the selected data was performed.

The researchers acknowledge that many of the studies included in the pooled data analysis were of low quality, and most were located in the United States, and Include minority and marginalized racial or ethnic groups other than African Americans. As such, they may not apply more broadly to other ethnic and cultural contexts.

Nonetheless, they noted, “Our findings are consistent with existing evidence that racial discrimination is Important risk factors for pregnancy outcomes.”

They explain: “Racism is pervasive in people’s daily lives. , has a profound impact on the experience of racialized individuals. As an upstream factor, it shapes other social determinants of health, such as employment, poverty, education, and housing.

“More directly related to health, racism affects available services and resources, such as referral to specialty care, access to health insurance and access to public health services. “

Researchers highlight various approaches to addressing racism’s impact on health outcomes, including need for improved training of clinicians .

They suggest that this can be achieved by “generally eliminating well-documented examples of racial bias, which Examples continue to perpetuate health inequalities”.

“This includes a lack of teaching and non- Disparate disease manifestations in white individuals, inaccurate techniques for pulse oximetry, unproven adjustments for race-based measures of kidney function, and inadequate teaching around social drivers of personal bias and health inequities. ”

Further information: Racial Discrimination and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, BMJ Global Health (2022). DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2022-009227

Citation : Racial Discrimination Linked to Underweight and Increased Risk of Preterm Infants (2 August 2022), 2022 Retrieved August 26 from

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