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Pockets Of Progress Amidst Persistent Racial Disparities In Low Birthweight Rates

Title: Pockets Of Progress Amidst Persistent Racial Disparities In Low Birthweight Rates.
Name(s): Goldfarb, Samantha S., author
Houser, Kelsey, author
Wells, Brittny A., author
Brown, Joedrecka S., author
Beitsch, Speights Les, author
Rust, George, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Journal Article
Journal Article
Date Issued: 2018-07-31
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Racial disparities persist in adverse perinatal outcomes such as preterm birth, low birthweight (LBW), and infant mortality across the U.S. Although pervasive, these disparities are not universal. Some communities have experienced significant improvements in black (or African American) birth outcomes, both in absolute rates and in rate ratios relative to whites. This study assessed county-level progress on trends in black and white LBW rates as an indicator of progress toward more equal birth outcomes for black infants. County-level LBW data were obtained from the 2003 to 2013 U.S. Natality files. Black LBW rates, black-white rate ratios and percent differences over time were calculated. Trend lines were first assessed for significant differences in slope (i.e., converging, diverging, or parallel trend lines). For counties with parallel trend lines, intercepts were tested for statistically significant differences (sustained equality vs. persistent disparities). To assess progress, black LBW rates were compared to white LBW rates, and the trend lines were tested for significant decline. Each county's progress toward black-white equality was ultimately categorized into five possible trend patterns (n = 408): (1) converging LBW rates with reductions in the black LBW rate (decreasing disparities, n = 4, 1 %); (2) converging LBW rates due to worsening white LBW rates (n = 5, 1 %); (3) diverging LBW rates (increasing disparities, n = 9, 2%); (4) parallel LBW rates (persistent disparities, n = 373, 91%); and (5) overlapping trend lines (sustained equality, n = 18, 4%). Only four counties demonstrated improvement toward equality with decreasing black LBW rates. There is significant county-level variation in progress toward racial equality in adverse birth outcomes such as low birthweight. Still, some communities are demonstrating that more equitable outcomes are possible. Further research is needed in these positive exemplar communities to identify what works in accelerating progress toward more equal birth outcomes.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_wos_000440300500056 (IID), 10.1371/journal.pone.0201658 (DOI)
Keywords: outcomes, united-states, randomized controlled-trial, cancer mortality, building-blocks, gestational-age, health consequences, infant-mortality gap, preterm birth, white women
Publication Note: The publisher’s version of record is available at
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Plos One.
Issue: iss. 7, vol. 13

Choose the citation style.
Goldfarb, S. S., Houser, K., Wells, B. A., Brown, J. S., Beitsch, S. L., & Rust, G. (2018). Pockets Of Progress Amidst Persistent Racial Disparities In Low Birthweight Rates. Plos One. Retrieved from