By Alan (ed) Gray
Read or Download A Matter of life and death: Contemporary aboriginal mortality : proceedings of a workshop of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health ... July 1989 PDF
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Extra resources for A Matter of life and death: Contemporary aboriginal mortality : proceedings of a workshop of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health ... July 1989
If a marker is to be useful, it must not only parallel some important aspect of community health and welfare, but must also respond promptly to changes. In Cherbourg Aboriginal settlement, the health, growth and mortality of infants and children have improved dramatically over the last 30 years, but birthweights have remained unchanged. Birthweight does not seem to be a responsive indicator of community well-being. Our finding that the birthweight of the mother has a considerable effect on the birthweight of the child suggests that there will always Table 4 Adjusted effect of father's early history on birthweight for last birth.
Most of these SGA births are full-term births, reflecting a serious problem of intra-uterine growth retardation. Indeed the proportion of fullterm SGA births in community F is more than twice the average, and about three times the level in community A. The patterns of childbearing across the communities do not vary sufficiently to explain these marked differentials in birthweight, thus the causes cannot be explained by data available here. Table 7 Mean scores and percentage of births scoringless than seven by age of mother and birth order.
It is most unlikely that extra food given to Aboriginal mothers during pregnancy would increase the birthweights of their children. Smoking is common among Aboriginal women, including pregnant women. Overseas studies have shown that smoking can reduce birthweights by 100 to 200 gm depending on the number of cigarettes smoked and the other circumstances of the study. Marijuana also appears to lower the mean birthweight (Kline et a1 1987). Alcohol has a specific action on the foetus and may lead to the foetal alcohol syndrome.