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Geographical Analysis of the Distribution of Publications Describing Spatial Associations among Outdoor Environmental Variables and Really Small Newborns in the USA and Canada

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9, Canada
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inVIVO Planetary Health of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), West New York, NJ 07093, USA
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Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Aga Khan University, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Challenges 2019, 10(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe10010011
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
Newborns defined as being of “low birth weight” (LBW) or “small for gestational age” (SGA) are global health issues of concern because they are vulnerable to mortality and morbidity. Prenatal exposures may contribute to LBW/SGA. In this review, we searched peer-reviewed scientific literature to determine what location-based hazards have been linked with LBW/SGA in the industrialized nations of Canada and the USA. After selecting studies based on inclusion/exclusion criteria, we entered relevant details in to an evidence table. We classified and summarized 159 articles based on type of environment (built = 108, natural = 10, and social = 41) and general category of environmental variables studied (e.g., air pollution, chemical, water contamination, waste site, agriculture, vegetation, race, SES, etc.). We linked the geographic study areas by province/state to political boundaries in a GIS to map the distributions and frequencies of the studies. We compared them to maps of LBW percentages and ubiquitous environmental hazards, including land use, industrial activity and air pollution. More studies had been completed in USA states than Canadian provinces, but the number has been increasing in both countries from 1992 to 2018. Our geographic inquiry demonstrated a novel, spatially-focused review framework to promote understanding of the human ‘habitat’ of shared environmental exposures that have been associated with LBW/SGA. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental health; adverse birth outcomes; small for gestational age; low birth weight; exposome; planetary health; Canada; USA environmental health; adverse birth outcomes; small for gestational age; low birth weight; exposome; planetary health; Canada; USA
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Nielsen, C.C.; Amrhein, C.G.; Osornio-Vargas, A.R. Geographical Analysis of the Distribution of Publications Describing Spatial Associations among Outdoor Environmental Variables and Really Small Newborns in the USA and Canada. Challenges 2019, 10, 11.

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