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Examining the “Healthy Immigrant Paradox” in perinatal outcomes. Evidence from perinatal surveys in France

Tatiana Eremenko, UNED, Spain

Despite a more disadvantaged socio-economic status, children of immigrant parents were initially found to have better perinatal health outcomes, the “Healthy Immigrant Paradox”. However, this evidence was mainly based on the US and recent studies from Europe offer more contradictory evidence and point to importance of other factors such as migrants’ country of origin, reason of migration, legal status, as well as national and local integration policies. Differences in data collection may also affect comparability of results. This paper aims to further understand this issue by examining key perinatal outcomes (prematurity and birthweight) among immigrant populations in France. We use three perinatal surveys with different survey designs and data collection approaches: National Perinatal survey (ENP, 2010), French Longitudinal Study of Children (Elfe, 2011) and French multicentre prospective PreCARE cohort (PreCARE, 2011). Prevalence by immigrant status did not show consistent patterns, and mother’s region of origin was more determinant: new-borns of Sub-Saharan African origin were more likely to experience prematurity and low birthweight, whereas higher birthweight was more common for those of European and Northern African origin. Lastly, the deterioration of perinatal health by mother’s length of stay was only observed in some cases.

Keywords: Health and morbidity, Methodology, Comparative methods, Demographic and social surveys

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  Presented in Session 50. Migrant Health