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Public Opinions About Infant Feeding in the United States



Public Opinions About Infant Feeding in the United States



Birth 43(4): 313-319



Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of life. However, many barriers to breastfeeding exist. We examine public opinions about the benefits of breastfeeding and the infant health risks associated with formula feeding. A national public opinion survey was conducted in 2013. Participants indicated their level of agreement with four breastfeeding-related statements. Except for the last one, all statements were positively worded with agreement representing positive opinions toward breastfeeding. To focus on the prevalence of positive opinions, we estimated percentage agreement with the first three statements, but disagreement with the fourth. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine how odds of these positive opinions varied by socio-demographic factors. Seventy-eight percent of participants agreed that breastmilk is nutritionally designed for infants, but few believed breastfeeding protects against overweight (12%). Approximately one-quarter agreed that formula feeding increases the chance of illness, whereas 45 percent disagreed that infant formula is equivalent to breastmilk. Older, less-educated, unmarried, and non-Hispanic black participants were less likely to agree that formula feeding increases the risk of infant illness. Races other than non-Hispanic white, participants aged 30-44 years and 45-59 years, unmarried, and less-educated participants were less likely to disagree with the equivalence of infant formula to breastmilk. The nutritional value of breastmilk is well known. Fewer adults believe that breastfeeding protects against childhood overweight or that formula feeding increases the chance of infant illness. Communication efforts may increase public awareness of the health benefits of breastfeeding.

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Accession: 058661277

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27568829

DOI: 10.1111/birt.12248


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