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Type: Journal article
Title: Gestational age and child development at age five in a population-based cohort of Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children
Author: Hanly, M.
Falster, K.
Chambers, G.
Lynch, J.
Banks, E.
Homaira, N.
Brownell, M.
Eades, S.
Jorm, L.
Citation: Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 2018; 32(1):114-125
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0269-5022
Statement of
Mark Hanly, Kathleen Falster, Georgina Chambers, John Lynch, Emily Banks, Nusrat Homaira, Marni Brownell, Sandra Eades, Louisa Jorm
Abstract: Background: Preterm birth and developmental vulnerability are more common in Australian Aboriginal compared with non-Aboriginal children. We quantified how gestational age relates to developmental vulnerability in both populations. Methods: Perinatal datasets were linked to the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), which collects data on five domains, including physical, social, emotional, language/cognitive, and general knowledge/ communication development. We quantified the risk of developmental vulnerability on ≥1 domains at age 5, according to gestational age and Aboriginality, for 97 989 children born in New South Wales, Australia, who started school in 2009 or 2012. Results: Seven thousand and seventy-nine children (7%) were Aboriginal. Compared with non-Aboriginal children, Aboriginal children were more likely to be preterm (5% vs. 9%), and developmentally vulnerable on ≥1 domains (20% vs. 36%). Overall, the proportion of developmentally vulnerable children decreased with increasing gestational age, from 44% at ≤27 weeks to 20% at 40 weeks. Aboriginal children had higher risks than non- Aboriginal children across the gestational age range, peaking among early term children (risk difference [RD] 19.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 16.3, 21.7; relative risk [RR] 1.91, 95% CI 1.77, 2.06). The relation of gestational age to developmental outcomes was the same in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children, and adjustment for socioeconomic disadvantage attenuated the risk differences and risk ratios across the gestational age range. Conclusions: Although the relation of gestational age to developmental vulnerability was similar in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children, Aboriginal children had a higher risk of developmental vulnerability at all gestational ages, which was largely accounted for by socio-economic disadvantage.
Keywords: gestational age
preterm birth
early childhood development
indigenous population
linked administrative data
Rights: © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
DOI: 10.1111/ppe.12426
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