Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2012 Dec;3(6):433-41. doi: 10.1017/S2040174412000384.

Maternal experiences of racial discrimination and child weight status in the first 3 years of life.

Author information

  • 11Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 22 Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 33Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.


Among US racial/ethnic minority women, we examined associations between maternal experiences of racial discrimination and child growth in the first 3 years of life. We analyzed data from Project Viva, a pre-birth cohort study. We restricted analyses to 539 mother-infant pairs; 294 were Black, 127 Hispanic, 110 Asian and 8 from additional racial/ethnic groups. During pregnancy, mothers completed the Experiences of Discrimination survey that measured lifetime experiences of racial discrimination in diverse domains. We categorized responses as 0, 1-2 or ≥3 domains. Main outcomes were birth weight for gestational age z-score; weight for age (WFA) z-score at 6 months of age; and at 3 years of age, body mass index (BMI) z-score. In multivariable analyses, we adjusted for maternal race/ethnicity, nativity, education, age, pre-pregnancy BMI, household income and child sex and age. Among this cohort of mostly (58.2%) US-born and economically non-impoverished mothers, 33% reported 0 domains of discrimination, 33% reported discrimination in 1-2 domains and 35% reported discrimination in ≥3 domains. Compared with children whose mothers reported no discrimination, those whose mothers reported ≥3 domains had lower birth weight for gestational age z-score (β -0.25; 95% CI: -0.45, -0.04), lower 6 month WFA z-score (β -0.34; 95% CI: -0.65, -0.03) and lower 3-year BMI z-score (β -0.33; 95% CI: -0.66, 0.00). In conclusion, we found that among this cohort of US racial/ethnic minority women, mothers' report of experiencing lifetime discrimination in ⩾ 3 domains was associated with lower fetal growth, weight at 6 months and 3-year BMI among their offspring.

[PubMed - in process]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Cambridge University Press
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk