National WIC Association

Socioeconomic gradients and low birthweight: empirical and policy considerations

Finch BK. Socioeconomic gradients and low birthweight: empirical and policy considerations. Health Serv Res. Dec 2003;38(6 Part 2):1819-1842.

The objective of this study was to examine whether socioeconomic status (SES) gradients emerged in health outcomes as early as birth. Results showed that participation in WIC substantially flattened income gradients for short-term participants and virtually eliminated an income gradient among long-term participants. The researcher concluded that WIC’s effects on income gradients warrant additional study, to explore further whether interventions or participants’ characteristics could resolve socioeconomic disparities in such early-life health outcomes as low birthweight.