Living in ethnic enclaves may improve pregnancy outcomes for Asian/Pacific Islanders, IRP study suggests

Among Asian/Pacific Islander women living in the United States, those who reside in ethnic enclaves — areas with a high concentration of residents of a similar ancestry — are less likely to have pregnancy or birth complications than those living in other areas, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. The findings appear in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Women in enclaves were less likely to have gestational diabetes, to deliver preterm, or to have an infant who was small for gestational age (a possible indicator of failure to grow adequately in the uterus). The researchers theorize that living in ethnic enclaves may improve health by offering easier access to health professionals of similar ancestry, access to traditional diets that are healthier than typical U.S. diets, and less incentive to engage in unhealthy habits like smoking and alcohol abuse.

“Our findings suggest that providing Asian/Pacific Islanders with culturally appropriate health care resources may be a key factor in overcoming disparities,” said the study’s senior author, Pauline Mendola, Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022