While other research has compared birth outcomes of immigrant and U.S.-born women—including that immigrant women have better birth outcomes—less is known about health status of nonpregnant women of childbearing age. A woman’s health behaviors before pregnancy correlate directly with birth outcomes.
Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2006), researchers tested the hypothesis that behavioral risk factors vary between pregnant and nonpregnant women with significant immigrant disparities.
Data on women aged 12 to 44 of various race/ethnicities were categorized based on pregnancy and immigration status. Among the significant findings:
These findings highlight “unacceptably high” prevalence of nonpregnant U.S.-born women who engage in harmful behaviors and who are overweight or obese.