Claire Margerison-Zilko

Assistant Professor

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University

NLS user since 2008

  • Margerison Zilko CE, Rehkopf D, Abrams B. 2010. Associations of gestational weight gain with short- and long-term maternal and child health outcomes. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 202(6):574.
  • Margerison-Zilko CE, Hubbard A, Catalano RA, Ahern J. 2011. Maternal exposure to unexpected economic contraction and birth weight for gestational age. Epidemiology. 22(6):855-8.
  • Margerison-Zilko CE., Cubbin C. 2013. Dynamic poverty experiences and development of overweight in a national sample of US children ages 4 to 14. Obesity. 21(7):1438-45.
  • Margerison-Zilko CE. 2014. Maternal exposure to economic contraction during pregnancy and smoking, alcohol use, and gestational weight gain in a national sample of U.S. women. Annals of Epidemiology. 24(6):432-40.
What I learned from NLS data

A key finding from my research is that mothers exposed to a state-level economic downturn during the first trimester of pregnancy have (on average) smaller babies and higher odds of small for gestational age. Even more interesting, this association is strongest among mothers with <12 years of education compared to women with 12 or more years of education.

Why I chose NLS data

My research seeks to understand the relations between social and economic circumstances across the life-course and maternal and child health outcomes. It is difficult to find longitudinal datasets that include rich data on social and economic factors (e.g., multiple measures of income, wealth, education, family structure, etc.) as well as health outcomes. The NLSY79 is unique in that it includes relatively detailed data on pregnancy health and birth outcomes and follows offspring into adolescence. Moreover the sample is large and socioeconomically and racially diverse.