Socio-economic differentials in low birth weight: an analysis from the Andalusian demographic dataset

Bárbara Revuelta Eugercios, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Sol Juárez, Spanish Council for Scientific Research
Diego Ramiro-Fariñas, Spanish Council for Scientific Research
Francisco Viciana, Instituto de Estadistica de Andalucia

Recent literature has shown consistent evidence linking mortality and health differentials with socio-economic status for all types of indicators and measures. The relationship, however, is still not completely understood as there are interactions linking outcomes in both of those dimensions. In this paper we propose to analyze those differentials using one of the most interesting indicators, birth weight, that can provide information about two moments of time (past and present) and about two individuals (mother and child): the nutritional status and past experience of the mother and the nutritional current status of the child and his future prospects. Traditional conceptualization of social class has generally been based on a higher unit, the family, while our target population is mainly composed of mothers and children and that situation is particularly unfavourable to study perinatal measures for two reasons: 1) it is necessary to identify mother’s specific characteristics and to take into account their specific effect on the child; 2) demographic family dynamics in the past decades have dramatically changed the way families are defined and the role of women in them. In order to operationalize the hard-to-grasp concept of socio-economic status to analyze our desired indicator we will implement a more comprehensive measure of maternal social class without losing the family indicators that provide context. We will use a combination of Golthorpe’s measure to proxy the first along with the information on living arrangements as contextual variables. Additionally, we will include information on household composition and try to assess the participation of the individual in the family unit and its role in newborns health

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Presented in Session 38: Socioeconomic differentials in infant and child health

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