Bottom Line: A national population-based study suggests the 2016 U.S. presidential election may have been associated with an increase in preterm births among Latina women in the United States. The design of the study is used to evaluate whether policies or other population-level changes interrupt a trend in an outcome. Using data on birth counts from 2009 through July 2017 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers compared preterm births (less than 37 weeks) to Latina women after the 2016 presidential election with the number expected had the election not taken place. Among nearly 32.9 million live births recorded during the study period, 11% of males and 9.6% of female births to Latina women were preterm compared with 10.2% and 9.3%, respectively, to other women. In the nine-month period beginning in November 2016, an additional 1,342 male and 995 female preterm births to Latina women were found above the expected number of preterm births, which is about 3.2% to 3.6% more. This study cannot identify the reasons behind the findings and other limitations of the study include an inability to differentiate between native and nonnative Latina women in the U.S. The authors suggest future research look at the association of anti-immigration policies with population health.
Authors: Alison Gemmill, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and coauthors
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