Analyzing Gaps in Child Health in the U.K.: A "Weathering" Hypothesis Perspective

Alice Goisis, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

It is well established that, across a range of countries, ethnic minority women are more likely to have poorer birth outcomes than white women. U.S. research has also demonstrated that the excess risk of poor birth outcomes for black women compared to white women tends to increase with the age of the mother. Researchers have suggested that this age pattern may be due to black women’s greater risk of exposure to cumulative health disadvantages, something referred to as the “weathering hypothesis”. In the U.K., an ethnically diverse country with high levels of inequality and residential segregation, the “weathering” perspective has not yet been adopted to analyse gaps in child health. In this paper, using data from the ONS Longitudinal Study(U.K.) and building on existing findings, we explore whether ethnic and social class gaps in child health increase with mother's age at birth as predicted by the “weathering“ hypothesis literature.

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Presented in Poster Session 3