The Maternal Child and Health Journal recently published a study on “The Effects of Chewing Betel Nut with Tobacco and Pre-pregnancy Obesity on Adverse Birth Outcomes Among Palauan Women.” This research would not be possible if it weren’t for the years of hard work and dedication by Dr. Katherine Berger, Mr. James Masterson, Ms. Joy Mascardo, Ms. Jayvee Grapa, Dr. Inger Appanaitis, Ms. Everlynn Temengil, Ms. Berry Moon Watson, and Dr. Haley Cash.
Copy & Paste this link for the journal manuscript: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10995-016-1972-6?wt_mc=internal.event.1.SEM.ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst
The small Pacific Island nation of Palau has alarmingly high rates of betel nut with tobacco use and obesity among the entire population including pregnant women. This study aimed to determine the effects of betel nut with tobacco use and pre-pregnancy obesity on adverse birth outcomes. This study used retrospective cohort data on 1171 Palauan women who gave birth in Belau National Hospital in Meyuns, Republic of Palau between 2007 and 2013. The exposures of interest were pre-pregnancy obesity and reported betel nut with tobacco use during pregnancy. The primary outcomes measured were preterm birth and low birth weight among full-term infants. A significantly increased risk for low birth weight among full-term infants was demonstrated among those women who chewed betel nut with tobacco during pregnancy when other known risk factors were controlled for. Additionally, pre-pregnancy obesity was associated with a significantly increased risk for preterm birth when other known risk factors were controlled for. Both betel nut with tobacco use and pre-pregnancy obesity were associated with higher risks for adverse birth outcomes. These findings should be used to drive public health efforts in Palau, as well as in other Pacific Island nations where these studies are currently lacking.