In a cross sectional sample of 655 Glasgow babies the mean birthweight, after adjusting for other factors, of those with unemployed fathers was 150 g less (P less than 0.02) than for babies whose fathers were employed. A longitudinal study of 107 babies from 2 contrasting areas in Glasgow one of which was a socially deprived area was carried out concurrently. The deficit in length of 2.6% for infants from the deprived area at age 12 months was completely explained by adjusting for length at 1 month, father's height, and father's employment status (P less than 0.01). The effect of unemployment on the babies' birthweight was not affected by adjustment for social class. Unemployment may be related to poor infant growth in inner city areas and a national study is needed to see if the recent rise in unemployment has affected this association.
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