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McCrory C.,Trinity College Dublin | Murray A.,Irish Economic and Social Research Institute
Maternal and Child Health Journal | Year: 2013

The present study examines whether breastfeeding is associated with neuro-developmental advantages at 9 months of age on a standardised measure of infant development in a large cohort study of Irish children. It is hypothesised that if breast-milk confers an independent benefit, infants who were never breastfed will have reached fewer developmental milestones than those who were partially or exclusively breastfed, after controlling for putative confounding variables. Families with infants aged 9-months were recruited as part of a nationally representative sample for the birth cohort of the Growing Up in Ireland study (n = 11,134). Information was collected from mothers on breastfeeding practices, socio-demographic characteristics and developmental progress during a household interview. Parent-report items on development covered communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal-social skills. Analysis of pass/fail status in each developmental domain using binary logistic regression showed a positive effect of any breastfeeding on gross motor, fine motor, problem solving and personal-social skills (but not communication) and these remained after adjustment for a range of confounding variables. There was, however, little evidence of a dose-response effect or advantage of exclusive over partial breastfeeding. A clear advantage of breastfeeding on infant development was demonstrated. However, the lack of a dose-response association on pass rates suggests that the breastfeeding effect may be confounded by other unobserved factors or that there is a critical threshold during which time the effect of breast milk may be particularly salient for bolstering brain development. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Turner M.J.,Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital | Layte R.,Irish Economic and Social Research Institute
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology | Year: 2013

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal obesity that is calculated 9 months after delivery and sociodemographic variables. Study Design: A national cohort of mothers was sampled 9 months after delivery as part of the Growing Up in Ireland Study Infant Cohort. Sociodemographic and clinical details were recorded at the interview by trained fieldworkers who used validated questionnaires. Body mass index was calculated based on weight and height measurements at the postpartum interview. The unadjusted and adjusted odds of obesity were calculated for predictor variables with the use of logistic regression analysis. Results: Of the 10,524 mothers whose cases were studied, the mean age was 31.6 ± 5.5 years, and the mean parity was 1.0 ± 1.1. The mean body mass index after delivery was 25.7 ± 5.4 kg/m2; 16.8% of the women (n = 1768) were obese. Postpartum maternal obesity levels were associated positively on univariable analyses with smoking, lower household income, African nationality, earlier completion of full-time education, gestational weight gain, lower breast-feeding duration, and increasing parity. On multivariable analysis, maternal obesity was associated with increasing parity in lower income households, but not in higher income households. Conclusion: Public health interventions that are aimed at decreasing obesity levels after childbirth should prioritize women who are disadvantaged socioeconomically. © 2013 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

Nolan A.,Irish Economic and Social Research Institute
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice | Year: 2010

This paper examines the determinants of household car ownership, using Irish longitudinal data for the period 1995-2001. This was a period of rapid economic and social change in Ireland, with the proportion of households with one or more cars growing from 74.6% to 80.8%. Understanding the determinants of household car ownership, a key determinant of household travel behaviour more generally, is particularly important in the context of current policy developments which seek to encourage more sustainable means of travel. In this paper, we use longitudinal data to estimate dynamic models of household car ownership, controlling for unobserved heterogeneity and state dependence. We find income and previous car ownership to be the strongest determinants of differences in household car ownership, with the effect of permanent income having a stronger and more significant effect on the probability of household car ownership than current income. In addition, income elasticities differ by previous car ownership status, with income elasticities higher for those households with no car in the initial period. Other important influences include household composition (in particular, the presence of young children) and lifecycle effects, which create challenges for policymakers in seeking to change travel behaviour. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Smith S.,Irish Economic and Social Research Institute
Health Economics, Policy and Law | Year: 2010

This paper employs widely used analytic techniques for measuring equity in health care financing to update Irish results from previous analysis based on data from the late 1980s. Kakwani indices are calculated using household survey data from 1987/88 to 2004/05. Results indicate a marginally progressive financing system overall. However, interpretation of the results for the private sources of health financing is complicated. This problem is not unique to Ireland but it is argued that it may be relatively more important in the context of a complex health financing system, illustrated in this paper by the Irish system. Alternative options for improving the analysis of equity in health care financing are discussed. © Cambridge University Press 2009.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2009-1.2.1. | Award Amount: 3.11M | Year: 2010

The primary objective of this research project is to produce a comprehensive study on the impact of market services on aggregate economic growth in the EU and its comparative performance relative to competitor regions, especially the US. The research is divided into three areas: Productivity and its drivers in service industries; Firm strategies in the knowledge-based economy and Internationalisation of service markets and growth. In the first area the project will explore the impact of intangible assets such as R&D and firm- specific training in explaining the EUs poor performance relative to the US. It will also examine interactions between information and communications technology and intangible investments to gauge to what extent these are complementary strategies to enhance productivity and growth. This area will also contain a detailed investigation of linkages between service sectors and manufacturing through trade in intermediate inputs, and the effect of the competitive and regulatory environment of service industries on growth in the EU. Area 2 on the knowledge based economy will investigate external sources of knowledge creation through an analysis of outsourcing of service functions in the service and the manufacturing sectors and will provide a detailed analysis of productivity and employment effects of innovation activities in different services industries and countries. The third area on internationalisation of services will analyse the extent of international trade, international investment and international outsourcing of services and investigate their impacts on productivity, employment and growth. The methods employed will be mostly quantitative economic analysis, supplemented by case studies. The results of the project will provide a significant advancement of the knowledge base on the impact of service industry performance for strengthening productivity, growth and employment in the EU and so will be a useful resource for policy makers.

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