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Breastfeeding, pregnant, and non-breastfeeding nor pregnant women's food consumption: A matched within-household analysis in India
Authors: Jasmine Fledderjohann, Sukumar Vellakkalb, and David Stuckler
Source: Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, 7:70-77. DOI: 10.1016/j.srhc.2015.11.007.
Topic(s): Breastfeeding
Maternal health
Reproductive health
Women's health
Country: Asia
Published: MAR 2016
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. Keywords: Breastfeeding; Pregnancy; India; Women's health; Nutrition