Measuring birth outcomes in New York State using a multidimensional approach

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Abstract

Objective

Poorer birth outcomes in the United States and New York State (NYS) remain a significant public health concern. The objectives of this study were to assess the effect of common and unique demographic, socioeconomic, and health services predictors on low birth weight (LBW), moderately LBW, very low birth weight (VLBW), and extremely low birth weight (ELBW) in NYS counties and to recommend policies that address unique differences at the county level.

Methods

Secondary data were collected for each of the 62 counties in NYS. Using a multidimensional approach, common and unique factors for LBW, moderately LBW, VLBW, and ELBW among NYS counties were evaluated. Correlations and multiple regression analyses were conducted for each of the outcome variables.

Results

Late prenatal care was the only significant predictor across all measures of poorer birth outcomes in NYS counties. Out-of-wedlock births, Medicaid Obstetrical Maternal Service providers, rural location, early prenatal care, advanced maternal age, and teen pregnancy rate were significant predictors, but not for all measures.

Conclusions

Findings highlight the need to move beyond the number of providers when analyzing birth outcomes at the county level. Programs that support teens and women of all ages and marital status need to be expanded to curb poorer birth outcomes that take a heavy human and financial toll in NYS.

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