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Title:Green space, blue space, & neonatal health: exploring the relationship between environmental factors & birth outcomes in New York City
Author(s):Abelt, Kathryn
Advisor(s):McLafferty, Sara
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Green space
Birth outcomes
Health geography
Abstract:Current scholarship points to a protective association between green space and birth outcomes as well a positive relationship between blue space and general wellbeing. There is evidence that these effects are particularly strong for individuals of lower socioeconomic status. I add to this body of literature by exploring the relationship between expectant mothers’ exposure to green and blue spaces and adverse birth outcomes in New York City. Three separate birth outcomes are examined: term low birthweight, preterm birth, and small for gestational age. Data on these outcomes originate from vital statistics birth records for the year 2000. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the 2005-2006 NYC Street Tree Census, and access to major green spaces act as measures of residential greenness, while proximity to publicly accessible waterfront areas represents access to blue space. The relationships between these factors and risk of adverse birth outcomes are analyzed through mixed-effects logistic regression models. Individual and neighborhood-level confounding variables are taken into account, and analyses are conducted separately for women in deprived neighborhoods to test for differential effects on mothers of lower socioeconomic status. Results indicate that women in deprived neighborhoods suffer from higher rates adverse birth outcomes as well as lower levels of residential greenness. A significant inverse association between nearby street trees and risk of preterm birth is identified for all women in the study population. However, higher NDVI values are found to be associated with elevated risk of small for gestational age among mothers in deprived neighborhoods. The policy implications of these findings are discussed along with potential directions for future research.
Issue Date:2017-04-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Kathryn Abelt
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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