Year of Publication

2021

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Anna Goodman Hoover, PhD

Committee Member

W. Jay Christian, PhD

Committee Member

Corrine Williams, ScM, ScD

Abstract

Objective: This study aims to examine the relationship between maternal residency in a county with surface coal production and preterm birth or low birth weight.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using birth records (n=62,766) for 54 Appalachian counties and coal production in tons. Logistic regression and chi-squared analysis was done to analyze the relationship between surface coal mining and preterm birth and low birth weight in two different birth groups.

Results: After controlling for covariates, statistically significant increases were seen in Birth Group 1 and Birth group 2. Birth Group 1 had statistically significant results for preterm birth ((1.19 CI 1.07-1.33) (1.24 CI 1.13-1.37)) and low birth weight ((1.26 CI 1.11-1.43) (1.21 CI 1.08-1.35)) for both “medium-high coal production” and “high coal production”, respectively. Birth Group 2 had statistically significant results for preterm birth (1.14 CI 1.14-1.74) in the “medium-high coal production” and statistically significant results for low birth weight in the “medium-low coal production” (1.19 CI 1.05-1.35) and medium-high coal production” (1.31 CI 1.03-1.68) categories.

Conclusion: There was a statistically significant relationship seen between maternal residency in a county with surface coal production and the incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight in Appalachian Kentucky. This research can be used as a guide for future studies to help determine the relationship between proximity to surface mines and birth outcomes.

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