Assessing the impact of the local environment on birth outcomes: A case for HLM


Hierarchical linear Models (HLM) is a useful way to analyze the relationships between community level environmental data, individual risk factors, and birth outcomes. With HLM we can determine the effects of potentially remediable environmental conditions (e.g., air pollution) after controlling for individual characteristics such as health factors and socioeconomic factors. Methodological limitations of ecological studies of birth outcomes and a detailed analysis of the varying models that predict birth weight will be discussed. Ambient concentrations of criterion air pollutants (e.g., lead and sulfur dioxide) demonstrated a sizeable negative effect on birth weight; while the economic characteristics of the mother's residential census tract (ex. poverty level) also negatively influenced birth weight. © 2007 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology