Maternal drinking and smoking. Can it explain the exceptional academic performance of LBOTE children? A preliminary analysis.

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Date: Apr. 16, 2021
From: BMC Research Notes(Vol. 14, Issue 1)
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,850 words
Lexile Measure: 1490L

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Abstract :

Objective Although children from language backgrounds other than English (LBOTE) may be disadvantaged in English-reliant exams, they outperform children from an English language background (ELB) on many Australian National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) assessments. Maternal alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding have been associated with poorer cognitive and academic performance. Using data from the Growing Up in Australia Study, this paper aimed to identify demographic, lifestyle, and prenatal and perinatal risk differences related to maternal tobacco and alcohol use between LBOTE and ELB groups, as a first step in trying to understand the academic performance differences. Results Only data from breastfed babies was included in the current analyses. Although LBOTE children were disadvantaged in several demographic areas, their NAPLAN performance was the same or superior to ELB children across all Grade 3 and 5 NAPLAN assessments. The LBOTE group were, however, breastfed for longer, and their mothers smoked fewer cigarettes and drank less alcohol on fewer occasions throughout their pregnancy. The LBOTE mothers also had lower or less risky patterns of alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. The longer breastfeeding duration of LBOTE children combined with lower maternal use of alcohol and cigarettes during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding may partially contribute to their exceptional NAPLAN performance. Keywords: Academic achievement, Non-English speaking background, Drinking, Smoking, Breastfeeding, Pregnancy

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A661455101