Bottom Line: Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States. When breastfeeding rates took into account sociodemographic factors, such as participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, marital status, maternal education level and household income, the breastfeeding disparities were larger between black and white infants. For example, the difference for exclusive breastfeeding through six months increased from 0.5 to 4.5 percentage points. Breastfeeding differences between infants from all other nonwhite groups (Hispanic, Asian and American Indian or Alaskan Native) and white infants mostly got smaller or stayed the same, largely because of breastfeeding increases among white infants. All breastfeeding rates (ever, exclusive through six months, and continuation at 12 months) were lower for black infants than white infants in 2014-2015. Limitations of the study include the data from a national survey that excluded households without telephones. Efforts to improve breastfeeding rates among black infants are needed.
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Authors: Ruowei Li, M.D., Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and coauthors
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Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Ruowei Li, M.D., Ph.D., email Anita Blankenship at firstname.lastname@example.org. The full study is linked to this news release.
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