Brewer, Mackenzie, Rachel T. Kimbro, Justin T. Denney, Kristin M. Osiecki, Brady Moffett, and Keila Lopez. 2017. “Does Neighborhood Social and Environmental Context Impact Race/Ethnic Disparities in Childhood Asthma?” Health & Place 44:86-93.

 

Utilizing over 140,000 geocoded medical records for a diverse sample of children ages 2–12 living in Houston, Texas, we examine whether a comprehensive set of neighborhood social and environmental characteristics explain racial and ethnic disparities in childhood asthma. Adjusting for all individual risk factors, as well as neighborhood concentrated disadvantage, particulate matter, ozone concentration, and race/ethnic composition, reduced but did not fully attenuate the higher odds of asthma diagnosis among black (OR=2.59, 95% CI=2.39, 2.80), Hispanic (OR=1.22, 95% CI=1.14, 1.32) and Asian (OR=1.18, 95% CI=1.04, 1.33) children relative to whites. Utilizing over 140,000 geocoded medical records for a diverse sample of children ages 2–12 living in Houston, Texas, we examine whether a comprehensive set of neighborhood social and environmental characteristics explain racial and ethnic disparities in childhood asthma. Adjusting for all individual risk factors, as well as neighborhood concentrated disadvantage, particulate matter, ozone concentration, and race/ethnic composition, reduced but did not fully attenuate the higher odds of asthma diagnosis among black (OR=2.59, 95% CI=2.39, 2.80), Hispanic (OR=1.22, 95% CI=1.14, 1.32) and Asian (OR=1.18, 95% CI=1.04, 1.33) children relative to whites.

 
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Brewer, Mackenzie and Rachel T. Kimbro. 2014. “Neighborhood Context and Immigrant Children’s Physical Activity.” Social Science & Medicine 116:1-9.

 

Physical activity is an important determinant of obesity and overall health for children, but significant race/ethnic and nativity disparities exist in the amount of physical activity that children receive, with immigrant children particularly at risk for low levels of physical activity. In this paper, we examine and compare patterns in physical activity levels for young children of U.S.-born and immigrant mothers from seven race/ethnic and nativity groups, and test whether physical activity is associated with subjective (parent-reported) and objective (U.S. Census) neighborhood measures. The neighborhood measures include parental-reported perceptions of safety and physical and social disorder and objectively defined neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and immigrant concentration. Using restricted, geo-coded Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) data (N = 17,510) from 1998 to 1999 linked with U.S. Census 2000 data for the children's neighborhoods, we utilize zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) models to predict the odds of physical inactivity and expected days of physical activity for kindergarten-aged children. Across both outcomes, foreign-born children have lower levels of physical activity compared to U.S.-born white children. This disparity is not attenuated by a child's socioeconomic, family, or neighborhood characteristics. Physical and social disorder is associated with higher odds of physical inactivity, while perceptions of neighborhood safety are associated with increased expected days of physical activity, but not with inactivity. Immigrant concentration is negatively associated with both physical activity outcomes, but its impact on the probability of physical inactivity differs by the child's race/ethnic and nativity group, such that it is particularly detrimental for U.S.-born white children's physical activity. Research interested in improving the physical activity patterns of minority and second-generation immigrant children should consider how neighborhood context differentially impacts the health and physical activity of children from various racial, ethnic and nativity backgrounds.

 
 
 
 

Freeman, Laura and Mackenzie Brewer. 2013. “Family Matters: Links Between Family Structure and Early Child Health.” Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk 4(1):1-23.

 

This paper reviews the research of the past two decades that addresses the relationship between family structure and early child health outcomes. Specifically, we focus on family structure’s influence on child health during pregnancy, birth, and infancy. We briefly summarize the most pervasive changes to family structure in the US during recent decades and discuss how early child health is linked to future outcomes for children and adults. We review research that highlights the mechanisms linking family structure to early child health and identify key risk and protective factors for children from the prenatal period through infancy. We conclude with a critical assessment of current policy efforts to strengthen families and make recommendations for how best to address this issue for America’s families going forward.