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Maternal Cultural Participation and Child Health Status

Maternal Cultural Participation and Child Health Status

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Published by faqed ilzakira
Maternal Cultural Participation and Child Health Status
in a Middle Eastern Context: Evidence from the Urban Health Study
Maternal Cultural Participation and Child Health Status
in a Middle Eastern Context: Evidence from the Urban Health Study

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Published by: faqed ilzakira on May 05, 2009
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02/01/2013

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 Maternal Cultural Participation and Child Health Statusin a Middle Eastern Context: Evidence from the Urban Health Study
(Forthcoming in,
Child: Care, Health & Development 
)
 
Marwan Khawaja, Rana Barazi, Natalie Linos
Center for Research on Population and HealthFaculty of Health SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBox: 11-0236, Riad El-SolhBeirut 1107 2020, LebanonTel: +961 1 35 00 00 ext. 4668Fax: +961 1 74 44 70
Correspondence to
: Dr Khawaja (mk36@aub.edu.lb
 
)
 
 1
ABSTRACTBackground:
The negative effect of poverty on child health has been well established.However, rapid urbanization in developing countries prompts new research questions relating tosocio-cultural practices and other related variables in these settings.
Objective:
To examine the association between maternal cultural participation and child healthstatus in impoverished neighbourhoods of Beirut, Lebanon.
Methods:
A cross-sectional survey of 1,241 mothers with children under 5 years wasconducted from randomly selected households in three impoverished neighbourhoods of diverseethnic and religious make-up. The outcome variable was child health status (good/bad) asassessed by the mother. Maternal variables, including cultural participation, education,demographic, and environmental/structural factors were studied. Descriptive statistics and bivariate associations were provided using Pearson’s
χ 
2
tests. Unadjusted and adjusted oddsratios were then obtained from binary logistic regression models.
Results:
Two indicators of maternal cultural participation, namely watching entertainingtelevision and attending movies/art exhibitions, were found to be significantly associated to childhealth status after controlling for other risk factors. The quality of water, the quality of localhealth services, and maternal education were also significantly associated with child healthstatus. Household income, child gender, and household dampness had no significant associationwith child health status in this context.
Conclusion
: Maternal cultural participation was a significant predictor of child health status inimpoverished urban communities. Improving child health through culturally focusedinterventions for mothers, especially in deprived areas, may be great.
Key Words
: Child health, cultural capital, urbanization, poverty, health services, Lebanon.
 
 2
INTRODUCTION
Poverty and maternal depression are often examined independently as factors that negativelyaffect child health and development. Poverty has been clearly linked to poor child health(Wagstaff et al. 2004 ; Spencer 1996) higher rates of asthma,( Litonjua et al. 1999) diarrhoea andmalnutrition, (Blakely et al. 2005) and child mortality (Hertz et al. 1994). At the same time,maternal depression in both affluent and less affluent families has been linked to poor cognitivedevelopment and behavioural problems among children,
 
(Civic & Holt 2000 ; Luoma et al. 2001) poorer reported child health status, (Casey et al. 2004)
 
child nutritional status, (Harpham et al.2005) and unfavourable maternal health-care seeking behaviour (Minkovitz et al. 2005).Impoverished children face compounded health risks because they are directly harmed bystructural and environmental factors and also indirectly, since maternal depression has beenlinked to socioeconomic deprivation (Mulvaney & Kendrick 2005; Patel & Kleinman 2003). Indeveloping countries characterized by patriarchy, other variables relating to limited maternalautonomy may also be associated with poor child health and nutritional status (Doan & Bisharat1990; Heaton et al. 2005).Rapid urbanization in developing countries may produce new child health problemsrelating to the development of urban slums, (UN HABITAT 2005) social fragmentations, and tocultural and traditional norms in these societies. Since many developing countries arecharacterized by a restriction of women’s autonomy, legal rights, and scope of action, which mayhave an effect on child health, we decided to examine the recreational activities of mothers livingin poor urban environments in relation to child health.Our cross-sectional study of three neighbourhoods outside Beirut, Lebanon, contributesto the discussion on children’s health in poor urban communities by introducing a new variable

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