Journal Article

Do Children Born Before and After Adequate Birth Intervals Do Better at School?

Hassan Bella and Sameeh M. Al-Almaie

in Journal of Tropical Pediatrics

Volume 51, issue 5, pages 265-270
Published in print October 2005 | ISSN: 0142-6338
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1465-3664 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tropej/fmi009
Do Children Born Before and After Adequate Birth Intervals Do Better at School?

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There are un-verified reports that adequate birth intervals are associated with better physical and mental development children in the school age. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of preceding and succeeding birth intervals on the school performance of 9–10-year-old male Saudi children. This is a cross-sectional study of the performance of Saudi school children in relation to the length of the birth interval before and after the birth of the index child, conducted in Khobar, Eastern Saudi Arabia. A two-stage randomized sampling technique was adopted. Data were collected on scholastic achievements. Data was analyzed using SPSS software using chi-square, linear and logistic regression analysis. Children born after birth intervals longer than 31 months who scored grade A in the year of study, and the year before, were found to be significantly more than children born after intervals less than 17 months. There are more above-average students amongst those born after an interval of 31 months or more compared to those born after a shorter birth interval of 17 months or less according to teachers. Significantly more children born before birth interval longer than 35 months did better at school than children born before interval shorter intervals (less than 19 months). Logistic regression analysis showed that the possibility of classifying the index child as average or above in school performance increased as the succeeding birth interval increased. Results of the study verified previous findings that children born after adequate birth intervals do better at school. The study revealed that the succeeding birth interval in relation to school performance is more significant than the preceding birth interval. Apart from mother's education and breastfeeding, no other variables were found to be significantly related to the birth interval. These findings would enable us to advise couples that by observing a birth interval of around 3 years, their children are likely to do better at school.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Paediatrics

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