Background: Poor health outcomes among neonates born to aborigines has been reported in many countries. This study was aimed to examine the nationwide characteristics of live births, adverse birth outcomes, and age-specific mortality among neonates born to non-aboriginal and aboriginal parents in Taiwan.
Methods: All neonates born alive during the period of 2000 to 2003 in Taiwan were included. The adverse birth outcomes including low birth weight, preterm, and small-for-gestational-age births, and age-specific mortality were obtained. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate odds ratios for parental ethnicity in relation to birth outcomes, while Cox's proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios for parental ethnicity in relation to age-specific infant deaths.
Results: A total of 947,317 live births were included that consisted of 9,381 born to aboriginal mothers, 6,429 born to aboriginal fathers, and 15,354 born to aboriginal parents. There was a gradual increase in the risk of having a baby with low birth weight, preterm, or small for gestational age born to the four parental aboriginal ethnicity groups: non-aboriginal parents, aboriginal mother only, aboriginal father only, and aboriginal parents. Similar trends were also found for early neonatal, neonatal, and infant mortalities after stratification of residential areas. The neonates born to both aboriginal parents with residence in rural or mountain areas were at highest risk of adverse birth outcomes and age-specific mortality.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that aboriginality and residential area are important risk factors for adverse perinatal and infant outcomes.