Assessment of Breastfeeding Rates among Mothers in Appalachian Tennessee

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Despite known associated benefits of breastmilk, such as protection against infection, decreased risk for asthma, and decreased risk for obesity, breastfeeding rates in Tennessee fail to obtain nationally set benchmark goals. According to 2014 CDC data, in Tennessee 74.9% of infants were ever breastfed, and by six and twelve months only 40.7% and 20.9% of infants were breastfed, respectively. The targets set by Healthy People 2020 are 81.9% for initiation, 60.6% at 6 months, and 34.1% at 12 months. Moreover, infants from low-income families are less likely to receive breastmilk compared to infants from higher income families. Federal resources such as Women, Infants, Children (WIC) which provides women of low economic status with supplemental food, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support. Breastfeeding rates among WIC recipients historically have been lower than those among non-WIC recipients. Recently, Tennessee WIC has improved their food package for breastfeeding mothers and increased peer counselor and breastfeeding support an attempt to address this disparity. This study aims to assess the rates of breastfeeding in Northeast Tennessee and explore whether or not differences exist in breastfeeding rates between WIC-recipients and non-WIC recipients. This study was conducted as part of the Read and Play for a Bright Future program which aims to improve health and wellness in families with young children, in part through improved breastfeeding counseling in primary care as well as expansion of breastfeeding support groups and events for local families. A survey was constructed which evaluated social and health demographics of patients in a local pediatric clinic. Using convenience sampling method, anonymous surveys were obtained from mothers of 9-24 month infants during 2013 to 2015 on four separate occasions. Preliminary data analysis estimates that 69.3% of the total sample (n=226) was enrolled in WIC. 89% of mothers reported having a high school degree during the most recent data collection. Results suggested that 72.4% of mothers had ever breastfed their infant. This number declined to 57.1% after one month, 26.6% after six months, and 6.7% after twelve months. Factors associated with breastfeeding are being explored using univariate and multi-variate analyses. While rates of breastfeeding in this Appalachian Tennessee sample are below Healthy People 2020 targets, rates of breastfeeding continuation may be higher than in the state as a whole. However, the significant decline in breastfeeding rates of 30.5% between the ages of one month and six months sug


Johnson City, TN

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