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Journal of Pregnancy
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4769121, 7 pages
Research Article

Neighborhood-Level Poverty at Menarche and Prepregnancy Obesity in African-American Women

1Department of Public Health Sciences, Henry Ford Hospital, One Ford Place, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
2College of Nursing, Wayne State University, 5557 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
3Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
4Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 221 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received 29 February 2016; Revised 11 May 2016; Accepted 25 May 2016

Academic Editor: Debbie Smith

Copyright © 2016 Andrea E. Cassidy-Bushrow et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Menarche is a critical time point in a woman’s reproductive system development; exposures at menarche may influence maternal health. Living in a poorer neighborhood is associated with adult obesity; however, little is known if neighborhood factors at menarche are associated with prepregnancy obesity. Methods. We examined the association of neighborhood-level poverty at menarche with prepregnancy body mass index category in 144 pregnant African-American women. Address at menarche was geocoded to census tract (closest to year of menarche); neighborhood-level poverty was defined as the proportion of residents living under the federal poverty level. Cumulative logistic regression was used to examine the association of neighborhood-level poverty at menarche, in quartiles, with categorical prepregnancy BMI. Results. Before pregnancy, 59 (41%) women were obese. Compared to women in the lowest neighborhood-level poverty quartile, women in the highest quartile had 2.9 [1.2, 6.9] times higher odds of prepregnancy obesity; this was slightly attenuated after adjusting for age, marital status, education, and parity (odds ratio: 2.3 [0.9, 6.3]). Conclusions. Living in a higher poverty neighborhood at menarche is associated with prepregnancy obesity in African-American women. Future studies are needed to better understand the role of exposures in menarche on health in pregnancy.