Online Program

Women's status, breastfeeding infrastructure, and breastfeeding outcomes: A state level analysis

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Paige Hall Smith, PhD, Center for Women's Health and Wellness, School of Health and Human Sciences, UNC Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Quirina Vallejos, MPH, Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Breastfeeding support efforts have addressed multiple levels of influence that affect breastfeeding rates. Interventions have been aimed at creating support for breastfeeding not only at the individual level, but also at community, organizational, and policy levels. Recent theoretical and empirical research suggests the status of women (SOW) may be associated with breastfeeding rates. We conducted a state level analysis of the association between the SOW, breastfeeding infrastructure and support, and breastfeeding initiation, duration (6 and 12 mos), and exclusivity (3 and 6 mos). Breastfeeding outcome measures and composite indicators of breastfeeding support (birth facility/professional support) and structure (state health department FTE, BF coalition, child care regulation and legislation) come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's annual Breastfeeding Report Card. Composite measures of the SOW included 4 widely recognized domains of women's status: political participation; reproductive rights; employment and earnings; and social and economic autonomy; for many analyses we combined the last two domains as they were highly correlated. Using SPSS bivariate analysis indicated that breastfeeding support was significantly associated with all 5 breastfeeding outcomes whereas breastfeeding structure was not associated with any; all of the domains of SOW were associated with most of the breastfeeding outcomes. Multivariate analyses indicated that breastfeeding support and women's economic and social status were the best predictors across the five outcomes. This presentation will discuss what these and additional findings suggest about how breastfeeding and breastfeeding support are connected to the status of women and implications for future research, practice and policy.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between the status of women, breastfeeding infrastructure, and breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration. Identify state level actions to improve breastfeeding outcomes

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Breastfeeding

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on this study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.