Background: We assessed whether maternal residence in areas with high Arab-American concentrations, hence with expected low acculturation for this ethnic group, was associated with low birth weight (<2,500 g) (LBW) risk among Arab ethnicity mothers.
Methods: Data about all births in Michigan from 2000-2005 were collected. We used bivariate chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression models to assess the relation between residence in areas with high Arab-American concentration and risk for LBW among Arab ethnicity mothers. As a control, analyses were replicated among non-Arab white mothers.
Results: Both residence in Dearborn (OR=0.85, 95% CI=0.75, 0.97), the city with the highest Arab-American concentration in the US, and residence in 48126(OR=0.81, 95% CI=0.71, 0.93), the zip code with the highest concentration of Arab ethnicity mothers in Dearborn, were associated with lower risk for LBW compared to residence in the rest of Michigan in multivariable models adjusted for potential confounders. Neither residence in Dearborn nor in 48126 was associated with LBW risk among non-Arab white mothers.
Conclusions: Residence in areas with high Arab-American concentrations was associated with lower LBW risk among Arab ethnicity mothers. Future work should directly measure acculturation, a plausible mediator of this observed relation.
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