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Am J Public Health. 1990 Dec;80 Suppl:61-5.

Generational differences in perinatal health among the Mexican American population: findings from HHANES 1982-84.

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Maternal and Child Health Program, University of California, Berkeley, USA.


Data from the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES) were used to examine a profile of social, medical, and behavioral characteristics associated with low birth-weight (LBW) and miscarriages in first and second generation Hispanics of Mexican descent. The percentage of LBW was 5.3 and of miscarriages was 12.7. LBW rates were higher for second generation primipara and multipara compared with first generation women. Using multivariate logistic regression techniques and adjusting for complex design effects, generation was found to be a significant predictor of LBW but not of miscarriages. The findings support existing evidence that a Mexican cultural orientation protects first generation. Mexico-born women against a risk for LBW. However, the findings do not show significant effects of generation on miscarriages, suggesting that cultural effects are not consistent for all pregnancy outcomes. Furthermore, we suggest that the higher rates of LBW in second generation women are not due to a higher rate of miscarriages as has been hypothesized.

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