Publication details

The strong impact of maternal marital status on birth body size before and during the Second World War in Poznań district, Poland



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source American Journal of Human Biology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Second World War; socio-economic differences; birth weight; marital status; place of residence
Description The study aims to examine whether maternal socio-economic status, represented by marital status and the place of residence, affected birth body size (BBS) of babies in the pre-war period and during the WWII.The dataset consisted of 8934 unique individual information items on mothers and deliveries collected for two birth cohorts: born before (1934, 1935, 1936, and 1937) and during the WWII (1941, 1942, 1943 and 1944). BBS (weight, length, BMI) was compared according to mother's marital status and her place of residence in two cohorts separately. (ART)ANOVA was applied to test the effect of a child's sex, maternal marital status (MMS), and maternal place of residence (MPR) on birth weight/length/BMI of babies born alive before and during the WWII. Babies with greater BBS were born to married mothers than to single ones. This pattern applied to pre-war and to the WWII cohort. In both pre-war and the WWII cohorts the MMS had the strongest impact on BBS. The effect of mother's place of residence on BBS was observed in the pre-war cohort only. Marital status could have acted through economic and social factors, level of psychosocial stress and support, social (in)stability. In the pre-war period, the place of residence much more reflected socio-economic differences between localities. Marginal economic, health and nutritional conditions associated with the WWII affected mothers regardless of the size of their place of residence.

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