Maternal Place of Birth, Socioeconomic Characteristics, and Child Health in US-Born Latinx Children in Boston

Published:September 18, 2019DOI:



      Among US-born children of Latina US (USB) and Latina foreign-born mothers (FBM), to determine whether 1) household and child characteristics differ; 2) child health outcomes differ; 3) these differences diminish for children of FBM with longer duration of residence in the United States; and 4) these differences can be explained by food insecurity (FI) or by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation.


      Cross-sectional survey of 2145 Latina mothers of publicly insured US-born children 0 to 48 months old in a Boston emergency department (ED) 2004 to 2013. Predictors were FBM versus USBM and duration of residence in the United States. Outcomes were mothers’ report of child health, history of hospitalization, developmental risk, and hospital admission on the day of ED visit. Multivariable logistic regression adjusted for potential confounders and effect modification.


      FBM versus USBM households had more household (31% vs 26%) and child (19% vs 11%) FI and lower SNAP participation (44% vs 67%). Children of FBM versus USBM were more likely to be reported in fair/poor versus good/excellent health (adjusted odds ratios 1.9, 95% confidence interval [1.4, 2.6]), with highest odds for children of FBM with shortest duration of residence, and to be admitted to the hospital on the day of the ED visit (adjusted odds ratios 1.7, 95% confidence interval [1.3, 2.2]). SNAP and FI did not fully explain these outcomes.


      When providing care and creating public policies, clinicians and policymakers should consider higher rates of food insecurity, lower SNAP participation, and risk for poor health outcomes in Latinx children of FBM.


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