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J Urban Health. 2011 Oct;88(5):959-76. doi: 10.1007/s11524-011-9569-2.

Does time since immigration modify neighborhood deprivation gradients in preterm birth? A multilevel analysis.

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Centre for Research on Inner City Health, The Keenan Research Centre in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Immigrants' health is jointly influenced by their pre- and post-migration exposures, but how these two influences operate with increasing duration of residence has not been well-researched. We aimed to examine how the influence of maternal country of birth and neighborhood deprivation effects, if any, change over time since migration and how neighborhood effects among immigrants compare with those observed in the Canadian-born population. Birth data from Ontario hospital records (2002-2007) were linked with an official Canadian immigration database (1985-2000). The outcome measure was preterm birth. Neighborhoods were ranked according to a neighborhood deprivation index developed for Canadian urban areas and collapsed into tertiles of approximately equal size. Time since immigration was measured from the date of arrival to Canada to the date of delivery, ranging from 1 to 22 years. We used cross-classified random effect models to simultaneously account for the membership of births (N = 83,233) to urban neighborhoods (N = 1,801) and maternal countries of birth (N = 168). There were no differences in preterm birth between neighborhood deprivation tertiles among immigrants with less than 15 years of residence. Among immigrants with 15 years of stay or more, the adjusted absolute risk difference (ARD%, 95% confidence interval) between high-deprived (tertile 3) and low-deprived (tertile 1) neighborhoods was 1.86 (0.68, 2.98), while the ARD% observed among the Canadian-born (N = 314,237) was 1.34 (1.11, 1.57). Time since migration modifies the neighborhood deprivation gradient in preterm birth among immigrants living in Ontario cities. Immigrants reached the level of inequalities in preterm birth observed at the neighborhood level among the Canadian-born after 14 years of stay, but neighborhoods did not influence preterm birth among more recent immigrants, for whom the maternal country of birth was more predictive of preterm birth.

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