Women who live in neighborhoods blighted by dilapidated buildings and other signs of decay are more likely to have premature or low-birth-weight babies, a new study finds.
It’s not yet known what physiological thread, or other factor, links urban blight with unhealthy pregnancies, but researchers report in the December issue of Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology that the link is strongest among blacks, a group that has 1.5 times the risk of preterm births than whites.
“For African-Americans, they are overrepresented in those areas that have the highest levels of structural deterioration,” said study researcher Daniel Kruger, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan. “So in other words, this could be something that could partially overlie the health disparities that we’re seeing.”
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