Low Birth Weight Among Infants Born to Black Latina Women in the United States

Janardhan Mydam*, Richard J. David, Kristin M. Rankin, James W. Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives To explore associations between race, nativity, and low birth weight (LBW) among Latina and non-Latina women, with special attention to the Black Latina subgroup. Methods Using US natality data from 2011 to 2013, we designed a population-based study to compare LBW (< 2500 g) rates across six groups of women with self-identified race (N = 7,865,264)—White and Black Latina, foreign-born and US-born; non-Latina Black; and non-Latina White—creating 4 models for analysis: unadjusted (Model 1) and adjusted for sociodemographic factors (Model 2), sociodemographic plus medical risk factors (Model 3), and Model 3 factors plus smoking (Model 4). Results Infant LBW rate for Black Latinas (7.9%) was higher than White Latinas (5.6%) and varied by nativity: US-born (8.9%) versus foreign-born (6.1%). Among all study groups, US-born Black Latinas’ LBW rate (8.9%) was second only to non-Latina Blacks (11.0%). In unadjusted Model 1, US-born Black Latinas had 81% (odds ratio [OR]: 1.81; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.74–1.88) and foreign-born Black Latinas had 22% (OR: 1.22; 95% CI 1.15–1.29) higher odds of LBW than non-Latina White women (reference group). However, in Model 2, ORs for foreign-born Black Latinas were nearly identical to non-Latina Whites (OR: 1.03; 95% CI 0.97–1.1), while US-born Black Latinas’ odds were still 47% higher (OR: 1.47; 95% CI 1.42–1.53). Model 3 ORs for each group were similar to Model 2. Conclusions for Practice A significant subgroup of Latina women self-identify as Black, and their LBW rates are higher than White Latinas. Black Latinas born in the United States fare worse than their foreign-born counterparts, implicating negative effects of Black race specific to the US context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-546
Number of pages9
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019


  • Disparities
  • Latina
  • Low birth weight
  • Pregnancy risk factors
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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