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235538 Elusive exclusivity: Comparing cross-sectional and longitudinal data on exclusive breastfeeding
Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM
Background: Exclusive breastfeeding maximizes health outcomes but is difficult to measure, and cross-sectional data, used in many studies, may be unreliable. We aimed to compare “exclusivity rates” when collected by 2 different methods in the same infants at 4 months. Exclusivity was defined as only breast milk, with no formula or solid foods. Methods: We collected feeding data on infants born at an inner city Boston hospital between 2008-2010. We recorded all feeds in week 1; then collected feeding data by weekly (month 1) and monthly (months 2-4) phone calls to the mother. At 4 months, we calculated an “exclusive breastfeeding rate” based on cross sectional data (a single answer gained from maternal 24 hour recall at 4 months) and another based on longitudinal data (all data collected since birth for each infant). Results: According to cross-sectional, maternal 24 hour-recall at 4 months, 13% (33/248) of 4 month olds were exclusively breastfed at 4 months. However, according to longitudinal data, only 6% (16/248) of 4 month olds were exclusively breastfed; 48% (17/33) were recorded as having received non-breast milk feeds in the previous 4 months. Conclusion: Exclusive breastfeeding rates may be significantly over-reported in cross sectional studies based on 24 hour recall, leading to over-estimated rates of exclusivity. True rates of exclusivity may be far lower, as our longitudinal data did not record all feeds and probably missed other non-breastmilk feeds. This has major implications for health-related outcomes, especially in areas where exclusivity is paramount.
Learning Areas:Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Keywords: Breast Feeding, Policy/Policy Development
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I performed most of the research work on the study
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.
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