In this study, we aim to assess the associations over time between poverty and child weight status, asthma, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).
We analyzed data for 3968 children from the Generation R Study, a population-based cohort study in the Netherlands. Net household income and the number of adults and children living from this income were measured at 4 time-points (during pregnancy and at ages 2, 3, and 6). Poverty was defined on the basis of the equivalized household income being <60% of the median national income. Child health outcomes were measured at age 6 years. The association was explored by using logistic and linear regression models.
In this cohort, 9.8% of children were born into poverty and 6.0% had experienced 3 to 4 episodes of poverty. Independent of current poverty status, children born into poverty had an odds ratio (OR) of 1.68 for having overweight/obesity and a lower physical HRQoL (OR = −1.32) than those not born into poverty. Children having experienced 3 to 4 episodes of poverty had an OR of 1.94 for having asthma and a lower physical HRQoL (OR = −3.32) compared with children from never-poor families. Transition out of poverty before age 2 was associated with lower risk of asthma and a higher physical HRQoL compared with children who remained in poverty.
Being born into poverty or experiencing multiple episodes of poverty is associated with negative child health outcomes, such as having overweight, asthma, or a lower HRQoL. Support for children and families with a low household income is warranted.