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Health outcomes for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children born preterm, low birthweight or small for gestational age: a nationwide cohort study

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posted on 20.02.2019, 00:00 authored by Elizabeth WestruppElizabeth Westrupp, Fabrizio D'Esposito, Jane Freemantle, Fiona K Mensah, Jan M Nicholson
OBJECTIVE: To examine health outcomes in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experiencing perinatal risk and identify protective factors in the antenatal period. METHODS: Baby/Child cohorts of the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, born 2001-2008, across four annual surveys (aged 0-8 years, N = 1483). Children with 'mild' and 'moderate-to-high' perinatal risk were compared to children born normal weight at term for maternal-rated global health and disability, and body-mass-index measured by the interviewer. RESULTS: Almost one third of children had experienced mild (22%) or moderate-to-high perinatal risk (8%). Perinatal risk was associated with lower body-mass-index z-scores (regression coefficients adjusted for pregnancy and environment factors: mild = -0.21, 95% CI = -0.34, -0.07; moderate-to-high = -0.42, 95% CI = -0.63, -0.21). Moderate-to-high perinatal risk was associated with poorer global health, with associations becoming less evident in models adjusted for pregnancy and environment factors; but not evident for disability. A range of protective factors, including cultural-based resilience and smoking cessation, were associated with lower risk of adverse outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Perinatal risks are associated with Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait children experiencing adverse health particularly lower body weight. Cultural-based resilience and smoking cessation may be two modifiable pathways to ameliorating health problems associated with perinatal risk.



PLoS one





Article number



1 - 13


Public Library of Science


San Francisco, Calif.



Indigenous content

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Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, Westrupp et al.