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Pediatrics. 2007 May;119(5):e1063-70.

Duration of poverty and child health in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development: longitudinal analysis of a birth cohort.

Author information

  • 1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, C.P. 6128 succ Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3J7. louise.seguin@umontreal.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between duration of poverty and the health of preschool children in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development birth cohort.

METHODS:

Data from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development for 1950 children who were followed annually up to age 3 years were analyzed. Poverty was defined as having an income below the low-income cutoff from Statistics Canada. Five health indicators were examined: asthma attacks, infections, growth delay, a cumulative health-problems index, and maternal perception of the child's health. The association between duration of poverty and child health was explored with logistic regression modeling controlling for child and mother characteristics, including the mother's level of education, social support, and physical violence.

RESULTS:

In this birth cohort, 13.7% (268) 3-year-old children from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development experienced intermittent poverty since birth (1-2 episodes), and another 14.4% (280) experienced chronic poverty (3-4 episodes). Children from families with chronic poverty had more frequent asthma attacks and had a higher cumulative health-problems index score, whereas children with intermittent poverty were more often perceived to be in less than very good health by their mothers. These associations remained statistically significant when controlling for child and mother characteristics. No association was observed between duration of poverty and infections or growth delay.

CONCLUSIONS:

Chronic poverty affects a large number of children and has negative consequences for preschool children's health, although universal health care is available. The effects of chronic poverty may vary according to different health indicators and the age of the child.

PMID:
17473080
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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