Researchers confirm WIC breastfeeding rate data

While medical professionals have long known breastfeeding positively impacts infant and maternal health, few effective tools are available to measure breastfeeding practices nationally. According to a new study, one preexisting government-funded program is a potential wealth of accurate data about the breastfeeding practices of low-income mothers. This study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Human Lactation (published by SAGE).

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), a USDA-funded program that provides services to over 50% of all infants in the US, collects information about breastfeeding practices from postpartum mothers when they receive their food package vouchers. Women receive different foods, depending on whether they breast or formula feed, but until now, no one knew if the feeding information WIC collected when issuing reflected how the infant was really being fed.

Researchers Shannon E. Whaley, Maria Koleilat, and Lu Jiang conducted a telephone-based survey of over 2000 WIC participants to verify that the data documented in WIC administrative records was accurate. They found that the survey data they collected agreed almost perfectly with WIC records and stated that such information should be used in nationwide breastfeeding surveillance and .

"Assessing among the low-income population, a group often shown to display the lowest rates of breastfeeding, can be particularly challenging given high rates of mobility and lower rates of having a medical home where routine care is provided to mothers and their children," wrote the authors.

The authors claimed that the new information provided by sources such as the WIC program can remedy this challenge and is critical in order for future researchers to better understand the feeding practices of low-income women and children.

Whaley, Koleilat, and Jiang wrote, "Timely and reliable data sources about breastfeeding are needed not only to document trends in breastfeeding behavior across the country, but to identify the impact of breastfeeding on modifiable adverse health outcomes for children and their mothers."

More information: The article, "WIC Infant Food Package Issuance Data are a Valid Measure of Infant Feeding Practices," in Journal of Human Lactation, is available free for a limited time at: jhl.sagepub.com/content/early/… 436720.full.pdf+html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

WIC might prevent mothers from feeding cow's milk too early

Jun 29, 2010

Some low-income mothers are more likely than others to introduce their infants to cow's milk too soon. In doing so, they may put their children at risk of health complications, according to a study by researchers at Penn ...

Warning to breastfeeding mothers

Apr 15, 2011

While breastfeeding babies has numerous health advantages to both mother and child, mothers who breastfeed may find that other people look down on them and do not want to work with them. A recent study released by Personality an ...

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

Aug 29, 2014

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

Aug 29, 2014

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

Aug 29, 2014

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

User comments