The African-American population of McNary, Arizona, resides at an altitude of 2200 m. The lengthy winters are typically quite cold; the monthly mean temperature from November to April is 1.8°C. Data from 318 singleton full-term births of African-American babies from 1949 to 1972 show a mean weight of 3095 g (s.d. = 427 g). At birth 1.9% of the babies weighed at least 4 kg; 9.7% weighed less than 2.5 kg. These data suggest that altitude may have influenced birth weight in this sample. Significant patterns in birth weight exist for sex, parity, mother’s age, and severity of the winter preceding the year of birth. The birth weight of female babies born following warm winters is significantly lighter than those born during years following cold winters. There are relatively fewer high-birth-weight babies, in comparison to other African-American populations. Birth weight is also significantly lighter than three other African-American samples, even though African-American mothers of McNary had full-term professional care. Birth weight of African-American babies born in McNary is consistent with the overwhelming African ancestry of the African-American population of McNary. Sex differences in birth weight of babies bom following cold winters can be ascribed to gender-related hereditary or physiologic factors at the level of the fetus. Maternal inactivity during particularly cold winters may be a contributing factor.
Wienker, Curtis W.
"Birth Weight in an African-American Population Living under Moderate Ecologic Stress,"
5, Article 9.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol62/iss5/9