NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health

Douglas Almond, Janet Currie, Mariesa Herrmann

NBER Working Paper No. 17676
Issued in December 2011
NBER Program(s):   CH   HE

This paper examines the links between the disease environment around the time of a woman's birth, and her health at the time she delivers her own infant. Our results suggest that exposure to disease in early childhood significantly increases the incidence of diabetes in the population of future mothers. The exposed mothers are less likely to be married, have fewer years of education, are more likely to gain over 60 pounds while pregnant, and are more likely to smoke while pregnant. Not surprisingly then, exposure increases the probability of low birth weight in the next generation, at least among whites. Among whites, this effect remains when we control for maternal behaviors as well as disease exposure. Among blacks, we find that maternal exposure reduces the incidence of low birth weight. The difference between whites and blacks may reflect a "scarring" vs. selection story; whites who go on to have children are negatively impacted, while blacks who go on to have children are positively selected having survived a higher early childhood mortality rate.

download in pdf format
   (230 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (230 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17676

Published: Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet & Herrmann, Mariesa, 2012. "From infant to mother: Early disease environment and future maternal health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 475-483. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Almond and Currie w15827 Human Capital Development Before Age Five
Almond, Mazumder, and van Ewijk w17713 Fasting During Pregnancy and Children's Academic Performance
Currie w16798 Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences
Currie and Vogl w18371 Early-Life Health and Adult Circumstance in Developing Countries
Currie and Walker w15413 Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us