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Study: Infant macrosomia among First Nations in British Columbia, 1981 to 2000

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The study Infant Macrosomia Among First Nations in British Columbia – Prevalence, Trends and Characteristics provides valuable information on the prevalence, trends and characteristics of macrosomia among First Nations births in British Columbia over the past two decades. Macrosomia is defined as heavy birthweight for gestational age.

Health care practitioners and community midwives have long recognized the relatively higher birth weights of First Nations infants.From 1981 to 2000, the prevalence of macrosomia was higher among First Nations births than among non-First Nations births in British Columbia.

The higher prevalence of macrosomia could not be explained by differences in the mother’s age, marital status, parity, or neighbourhood income quintile, suggesting that this could be partly a physiological phenomenon.

However, the study noted an increasingly greater prevalence of macrosomia among First Nations births in recent years, which could reflect additional adverse influences resulting from changing lifestyles and other environmental factors.

Of particular concern was the higher risk of macrosomia among births to diabetic First Nations mothers, and the increasing prevalence of diabetic complications among First Nations mothers. This may partly account for the increasing prevalence of macrosomia among First Nations births.

Another important concern was the relatively poor neonatal and postneonatal outcomes among First Nations births, irrespective of macrosomia. However, this study confirmed the declining differences in rates of adverse outcomes among First Nations births compared with non-First Nations births which have been reported elsewhere.

This study was intended to serve as a reference on the epidemiology of macrosomia among First Nations births for health care providers, policy makers and other stakeholders concerned with perinatal health.

It was conducted by researchers from the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency, the University of Victoria, the University of Montreal, the Health Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, and Statistics Canada, in consultation with First Nations communities at various stages of the work.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers, including related surveys, 3231, 3233, 3234 and 3901.

The study Infant Macrosomia Among First Nations in British Columbia – Prevalence, Trends and Characteristics is an Internet publication available on the website of the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency. The full text is available free online in English only (www.vs.gov.bc.ca/stats/indian/infant_macrosomia.html).

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of the study, contact Russell Wilkins (951-5305, [email protected]), Statistics Canada; William Kierans (1-250-380-7319, [email protected]), British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency; or Les Foster (1-250-721-6280, [email protected]), University of Victoria.