Relation of maternal race to the risk of preterm, non-low birth weight infants: A population study

James W. Collins*, Nancy A. Hammond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The authors used 1982-1983 Illinois vital records and 1980 US Census income data to determine the contribution of maternal race to the risk of preterm (<260 days), non-low birth weight (>2,500 g) infants. This older cohort was chosen to avoid the confounding effect of cocaine associated with its increased local availability after 1985. In Chicago, the unadjusted preterm, non-low birth weight rate was 14% for African Americans (n = 43,059) compared with 9% for Mexican Americans (n = 10,397) and 7% for whites (n = 26,152) (odds ratio = 1.7, 95% confidence interval 1.6-1.8; odds ratio = 2.4, 95% confidence interval 2.3-2.5, respectively). In logistic models that included maternal sociodemographic and prenatal care variables, the adjusted odds ratio of preterm, non-low birth weight for African Americans compared with Mexican Americans and whites was 1.6 (95% confidence interval 1.4-1.8) and 1.5 (95% confidence interval 1.2-1.7), respectively. The authors conclude that some factor closely linked to the African-American race, not underserved minority status per se, is a fundamental cause of preterm, non-low birth weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1996


  • blacks
  • infant, low birth weight
  • infant, premature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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