Changes in family poverty status and child health

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OBJECTIVES: In this study, we aim to assess the associations over time between poverty and child weight status, asthma, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). METHODS: We analyzed data for 3968 children from the Generation R Study, a population-based cohort study in the Netherlands. Net household income and the number of adults and children living from this income were measured at 4 time-points (during pregnancy and at ages 2, 3, and 6). Poverty was defined on the basis of the equivalized household income being,60% of the median national income. Child health outcomes were measured at age 6 years. The association was explored by using logistic and linear regression models. RESULTS: In this cohort, 9.8% of children were born into poverty and 6.0% had experienced 3 to 4 episodes of poverty. Independent of current poverty status, children born into poverty had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.68 for having overweight/obesity and a lower physical HRQoL (OR = 21.32) than those not born into poverty. Children having experienced 3 to 4 episodes of poverty had an OR of 1.94 for having asthma and a lower physical HRQoL (OR = 23.32) compared with children from never-poor families. Transition out of poverty before age 2 was associated with lower risk of asthma and a higher physical HRQoL compared with children who remained in poverty. CONCLUSIONS: Being born into poverty or experiencing multiple episodes of poverty is associated with negative child health outcomes, such as having overweight, asthma, or a lower HRQoL. Support for children and families with a low household income is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020016717
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr Yang-Huang is supported by China Scholarship Council PhD Fellowship for her PhD study in Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands. The scholarship file number is 201506100001.

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 by the American Academy of Pediatrics


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