Maternal socioeconomic factors and racial/ethnic differences in neonatal anthropometry

Calvin Lambert, Jessica L. Gleason, Sarah J. Pugh, Aiyi Liu, Alaina Bever, William A. Grobman, Roger B. Newman, Deborah Wing, Nicole M. Gerlanc, Fasil Tekola-Ayele, Katherine L. Grantz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Disparities in birthweight by maternal race/ethnicity are commonly observed. It is unclear to what extent these disparities are correlates of individual socioeconomic factors. In a prospective cohort of 1645 low-risk singleton pregnancies included in the NICHD Fetal Growth Study (2009–2013), neonatal anthropometry was measured by trained personnel using a standard protocol. Socioeconomic characteristics included employment status, marital status, health insurance, annual income, and education. Separate adjusted generalized linear models were fit to both test the effect of race/ethnicity and the interaction of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic characteristics on neonatal anthropometry. Mean infant birthweight, length, head circumference, and abdominal circumference all differed by race/ethnicity (p < 0.001). We observed no statistically significant interactions between race/ethnicity and full-time employment/student status, marital status, insurance, or education in association with birthweight, neonatal exam weight, length, or head or abdominal circumference at examination. The interaction between income and race/ethnicity was significant only for abdominal circumference (p = 0.027), with no other significant interactions for other growth parameters, suggesting that racial/ethnic differences in neonatal anthropometry did not vary by individual socioeconomic factors in low-risk women. Our results do not preclude structural factors, such as lifetime exposure to poverty, as an explanation for racial/ethnic disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7323
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Abdominal circumference
  • Biparietal diameter
  • Birthweight
  • Disparities
  • Fetal growth
  • Head circumference
  • Neonatal length
  • Singletons
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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