TITLE

Can breastfeeding promote child health equity? A comprehensive analysis of breastfeeding patterns across the developing world and what we can learn from them

AUTHOR(S)
Roberts, Thomas J.; Carnahan, Emily; Gakidou, Emmanuela
PUB. DATE
January 2013
SOURCE
BMC Medicine;2013, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Background In 2010 more than 7.7 million children died before their fifth birthday. Over 98% of these deaths occurred in developing countries, and recent estimates have attributed hundreds of thousands of these deaths to suboptimal breastfeeding. Methods This study estimated prevalence of suboptimal breastfeeding for 137 developing countries from 1990 to 2010. These estimates were compared against WHO infant feeding recommendations and combined with effect sizes from existing literature to estimate associated disease burden using a standard comparative risk assessment approach. These prevalence estimates were disaggregated by wealth quintile and linked with child mortality rates to assess how improved rates of breastfeeding may affect child health inequalities. Results In 2010, the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding ranged from 3.5% in Djibouti to 77.3% in Rwanda. The proportion of child Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) attributable to breastfeeding is 7.6% at the global level and as high as 20.2% in Swaziland. Breastfeeding is a leading childhood risk factor in all developing countries and consistently ranks higher than water and sanitation. Within most countries, breastfeeding prevalence rates do not vary considerably across wealth quintiles. Conclusions Breastfeeding is an effective child health intervention that does not require extensive health system infrastructure. Improvements in rates of exclusive and continued breastfeeding can contribute to the reduction of child mortality inequalities in developing countries.
ACCESSION #
93476324

 

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