Online Program

Does a Surgeon General's Call to Action make a difference on exclusive breastfeeding prevalence and duration?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Emily Forsyth, MS, BSN, RN, CHES, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Hsien-Chang Lin, PhD, MA, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University School of Public Health - Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Background: Breastfeeding has been demonstrated as the best form of nutrition for newborns, decreasing the risk for many acute and chronic illnesses. Despite the research and worldwide support, exclusive breastfeeding faces many obstacles in the United States (U.S.) including deficits in maternal support.  In 2011, the Surgeon General released a Call to Action to support breastfeeding, which was hoped to have a positive impact on both breastfeeding prevalence and duration following its release. 

Method: A multi-year interrupted time-series study using the 2009-2012 National Immunization Survey was conducted (N=120,295).  Logistic and linear regressions were used to determine prevalence and duration respectively, controlling for sociodemographics and years. 

Results: Results show significant differences, with 15% lower prevalence, and 0.11 and 0.06 days shorter duration from 2009 and 2010, to 2011 (OR= 0.85, p<0.001).  However, following the release, only prevalence was shown to continue to significantly increase (OR=1.06, β= -0.06, β= -0.11; p<0.05).  Additional differences in prevalence and duration were found among Hispanics, college graduates, and married women, age 19-29, living the Western Region of the U.S., and never using WIC (p<0.001).  Results indicate the South is least likely to breastfeed and breastfed for shorter durations than other U.S. regions.   

Conclusion:  Surgeon General’s Call to Action was shown to be effective, although was not sustained for duration.  Further education and policy changes to support breastfeeding women 24 hours a day postpartum, in society and in the workforce, as well as continued support from national health organizations and governments are needed.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Identify potential policy and education efforts for enhanced breastfeeding support in hospitals, workplaces, and society.

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a registered nurse in labor and delivery, with a Master's in Applied Health Sciences, working on my PhD. My research interests include human sexuality and reproductive health, and have focused much of my educational efforts to these and other related areas.
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.