, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 285–298 | Cite as

Racial differences in birth health risk: A quantitative genetic approach

  • Edwin J. C. G. van den OordEmail author
  • David C. Rowe


In the United States the gap between black and white babies’ birth weights has remained largely unexplained. Rather than trying to measure all relevant variables, we used a genetically informative design to study the relative importance of genetic and environmental factors. Employing multiple indicators of “birth health risk,” we found that the racial differences increased with the magnitude of the shared environmental effects. This suggested that possible genetic effects would not pertain to fetal genes, although genes affecting the mother’s physical or physiological characteristics could be important because they contribute to shared environment in our analysis.


Birth Weight Path Coefficient Full Sibling Birth Length Shared Environmental Influence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin J. C. G. van den Oord
    • 1
    Email author
  • David C. Rowe
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychologyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Division of Family StudiesThe University of ArizonaUSA

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