The prevalence of birth defects among non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indians/Alaska Natives in Texas, 1999-2015

Birth Defects Res. 2019 Nov 1;111(18):1380-1388. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1543. Epub 2019 Jul 1.


Background: There is considerable variability in the prevalence of birth defects among racial/ethnic groups. This study estimated birth defect prevalence among the less studied non-Hispanic (NH) Asian/Pacific Islander (PI) and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations in Texas relative to NH Whites.

Methods: Data were obtained from the Texas Birth Defect Registry from 1999 to 2015 for deliveries to Texas-resident women who were NH White, NH Asian/PI, or AI/AN. This covers a live birth population of 2.6 million. Prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated for NH Asian/PIs and AI/ANs (relative to NH Whites) for 44 birth defects using Poisson regression adjusting for maternal age.

Results: After adjustment there were 33 statistically significant prevalence ratios (aPRs). Among NH Asian/PIs, 23 defects had a lower aPR (0.38-0.86) and three defects had a higher aPR (1.19-2.50). AI/ANs had one defect with a significantly lower aPR (0.64) and six with a higher aPR (1.36-4.63).

Conclusions: Non-Hispanic Asian/PIs generally have a lower prevalence ratio for many birth defects while AI/ANs have a higher prevalence ratio compared to NH Whites. These findings update the limited literature on this topic and warrant additional research to identify the true associations across a range of birth defects among these understudied racial/ethnic groups.

Keywords: Alaska Natives; American Indians; Asians; birth defects; congenital defects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alaskan Natives
  • Asian Americans
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Congenital Abnormalities / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Texas / ethnology