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Prenatal Care, Childhood Obesity, and Ethnic Health Disparities: Analyses from a Unique Population Database


This paper explores the association between prenatal care and childhood obesity across racial/ethnic groups, with special focus on Asians, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI), and non-Hispanic Whites. Data were drawn from a statewide population-based data source that linked vital and administrative records for a large cohort of children (n=227,032). Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate odds of overweight and obesity among children whose mothers received first trimester prenatal care versus those who did not. Compared with White and Asian women, NHOPI women had later initiation of prenatal care. However, NHOPI women who initiated early prenatal care had children with significantly lower risks of obesity and overweight than their counterparts who delayed such care. Timely prenatal care may be associated, with lower childhood obesity through focused monitoring and counseling on pregnancy-related weight gain as well as through reducing other potentially deleterious prenatal behaviors for this high-risk and underserved population.

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