Document Detail

Minimum drinking age laws and infant health outcomes.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19345434     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Alcohol policies have potentially far-reaching impacts on risky sexual behavior, prenatal health behaviors, and subsequent outcomes for infants. After finding initial evidence in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) that changes in the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) are related to prenatal drinking, we examine whether the drinking age influences birth outcomes. Using data from the National Vital Statistics (NVS) for the years 1978-1988, we find that a drinking age of 18 is associated with adverse outcomes among births to young mothers-including higher incidences of low birth weight and premature birth, but not congenital anomalies. The effects are largest among black women. We also report evidence that the MLDA laws alter the composition of births that occur. In states with lenient drinking laws, young black mothers are less likely to report paternal information on the birth certificate, particularly in states with restrictive abortion policies. The evidence suggests that lenient drinking laws generate poor birth outcomes in part because they increase the number of unplanned pregnancies.
Angela R Fertig; Tara Watson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2009-03-10
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of health economics     Volume:  28     ISSN:  0167-6296     ISO Abbreviation:  J Health Econ     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-05-12     Completed Date:  2009-07-28     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8410622     Medline TA:  J Health Econ     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  737-47     Citation Subset:  H    
University of Georgia, United States.
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MeSH Terms
Age Factors
Alcohol Drinking / legislation & jurisprudence*
Birth Weight
Infant, Newborn
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)*
Young Adult

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