Self-rated health and teenage pregnancies in roma women: Increasing height is associated with better health outcomes

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Abstract

This paper reports on the association between early marriage, age at first reproduction and height, as an indicator of childhood environment, and maternal health outcomes among traditional Roma women in Serbia. Demographic data, marital and reproductive histories, height, weight and self-rated health were collected from 414 Roma women living in rural settlements in Serbia in 2015-2017. Data analysis showed that higher age and weight were associated with a greater risk of poor health, greater height contributed to reduced risk of poor health while reproductive variables were insignificant. The study provides evidence that the long-term effects of early childbearing may not always be associated with poorer health status. As indicated by the differences in height, it is likely that women who were capable of reproducing very early on and staying healthy in later life were probably very healthy to begin with. The results probably reflect both the biological and social differences of early childhood. Aside from height, the traditional Roma marriage pattern and social benefits may have an additional protective effect on the health of women.

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Čvorović, J. (2019). Self-rated health and teenage pregnancies in roma women: Increasing height is associated with better health outcomes. Journal of Biosocial Science, 51(3), 444–456. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021932018000196

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