Birth outcome racial disparities: A result of intersecting social and environmental factors.

TitleBirth outcome racial disparities: A result of intersecting social and environmental factors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBurris HH, Hacker MR
JournalSemin Perinatol
Date Published2017 10
KeywordsEnvironmental Exposure, Health Status Disparities, Housing, Humans, Income, Infant, infant mortality, Infant, Low Birth Weight, Infant, Newborn, Premature Birth, Residence Characteristics, Social Class, Social Segregation, Stress, Psychological

Adverse birth outcomes such as preterm birth, low-birth weight, and infant mortality continue to disproportionately affect black and poor infants in the United States. Improvements in healthcare quality and access have not eliminated these disparities. The objective of this review was to consider societal factors, including suboptimal education, income inequality, and residential segregation, that together lead to toxic environmental exposures and psychosocial stress. Many toxic chemicals, as well as psychosocial stress, contribute to the risk of adverse birth outcomes and black women often are more highly exposed than white women. The extent to which environmental exposures combine with stress and culminate in racial disparities in birth outcomes has not been quantified but is likely substantial. Primary prevention of adverse birth outcomes and elimination of disparities will require a societal approach to improve education quality, income equity, and neighborhoods.

Alternate JournalSemin. Perinatol.
PubMed ID28818300
PubMed Central IDPMC5657505
Grant ListK23 ES022242 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States