Sow, M.; De Spiegelaere, M.; Raynault, M.-F. (2021) Risk of Low Birth Weight According to Household Composition in Brussels and Montreal: Do Income Support Policies Variations Explain the Differences Observed between Both Regions? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 7936. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157936
Abstract: Variations in social policy between countries provide opportunities to assess the impact of these policies on health inequities. This study compares the risk of low birth weight in Brussels and Montreal, according to household composition, and discusses the impact of income support policies. For each context, we estimated the impact of income support policies on the extent of poverty of welfare recipients, using the model family method. Based on the differences found, we tested hypotheses on the association between low birth weight and household composition, using administrative data from the birth register and social security in each region. The extent of poverty of welfare families differs according to household composition. In Quebec, the combination of low welfare benefits and larger family allowances widens the gap between households with children and those without children. The risk of LBW also differs between these two contexts according to the number of children. Compared to children born into large welfare families, first-born children are more at risk in Montreal than in Brussels. In addition to the usual comparative studies on the topic, our study highlights the importance of an evaluative perspective that considers the combination of different types of income support measures to better identify the most vulnerable households.
Keywords: perinatal inequities; poverty; social policy; income support policies; welfare; health impact assessment; natural experiments; pregnancy outcomes; low birth weight