Date of Conferral





Public Health


Patrick Tschida


Obesity is one of the major risk factors for neonate low birthweight among reproductive women. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the association between 3 categories of obese status (moderate, severe, and very severe) and low neonate birthweight and preterm birth among women ages 18 to 39 years at all socioeconomic levels. Secondary data were obtained from 141,859 women ages 18-39 years living in the United States who had participated in the 2012-2015 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Social-ecological theory was used to guide the study, and binary logistic regression was used for the analyses adjusting for age, education, ethnicity, income, marital status, and race confounders. Without accounting for the confounders, moderate, severe, and very severe obesity were associated with preterm birth. However, after adjusting for confounders, the obese categories were no longer associated with preterm birth. The estimated prevalence of preterm birth was higher among moderate, severe, and very severe obesity categories combined (56 preterm births per 1,000 live births) than among normal weight women (43 preterm births per 1,000 live births). Women of moderate obesity had a 10% statistically significant higher odds (p = .046, OR = 1.095) of neonate low birthweight when compared with very severely obese women. Severely obese women were not associated with neonate low birthweight when compared to women with very severe obese status (p = 0.159, OR = 1.056). Findings may be used to promote healthy lifestyle changes that could reduce the prevalence of preterm birth among obese women.

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