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Breastfeeding, pregnant, and non-breastfeeding nor pregnant women's food consumption: a matched within-household analysis in India

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare : Official Journal of the Swedish Association of Midwives
Volume7
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)70-77
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date8/12/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Promoting breastfeeding is major maternal and child health goal in India. It is unclear whether mothers receive additional food needed to support healthy breastfeeding.

METHODS: Using the latest National Family and Health Survey (2005-2006), we applied multilevel linear regression models to document correlates of nutrition for (n = 20,764) breastfeeding women. We then compared consumption of pulses, eggs, meat, fish, dairy, fruit, and vegetables across a sample of breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding/pregnant (NBP), and pregnant women (n = 3,409) matched within households and five-year age bands. We tested whether breastfeeding women had greater advantages in the 18 high-focus states of India's National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

RESULTS: Vegetarianism, caste, and religion were the strongest predictors of breastfeeding women's nutrition. Breastfeeding women had no nutritional advantage compared to NBP women, and were disadvantaged in their consumption of milk (b = -0.14) in low-focus states. Pregnant women were similarly disadvantaged in their consumption of milk in low-focus states (b = -0.32), but consumed vegetables more frequently (b = 0.12) than NBP women in high-focus states.

CONCLUSIONS: Breastfeeding women do not receive nutritional advantages compared to NBP women. Targeted effort is needed to assess and improve nutritional adequacy for breastfeeding Indian women.