Big and Small, Early and Late: A Family-Based Study of the Health Effects of Preterm Births and Birth Weight

Ken R. Smith, University of Utah
Heidi A. Hanson, University of Utah
Stacey Knight, Intermountain Healthcare
Karen Curtin, University of Utah
Jeannette Carpenter, University of Utah
Benjamin Horne, Intermountain Healthcare
Michael Varner, University of Utah

We test the hypotheses that prematurity and low birthweight adversely affect children’s and parent’s risk of short- and long-term health outcomes and mortality using a family-based model where we (1) compare the health outcomes of siblings throughout the life course based on differences in their gestational age and birth weight and (2) examine how gestational age and birth weight of offspring alter mortality risks of the parents.. Key outcomes for the offspring are: cancer incidence, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and adult all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Hypotheses are tested using data from 400,000 births in the Utah Population Database for children born 1947-1969 and linked to adult medical records and organized into families and whose health fortunes have been examined up to 2012. Assessment of how early parental death and familial longevity are described in their potentially moderating effects of the adverse effects of preterm and low birth weight births.

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 Presented in Session P7. Health and Mortality of Women, Children and Families