Meals deserts scale back breastfeeding initiation

Could 13, 2022

2 min learn


Smith MA, et al. Summary 199. Introduced at: ACOG Medical & Scientific Assembly; Could 6-8, 2022; San Diego.

Wilson and colleagues report no related monetary disclosures.

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SAN DIEGO — Dwelling inside a meals desert is a vital danger issue for decreased breastfeeding initiation, in keeping with findings offered on the ACOG Annual Medical and Scientific Assembly.

“Dwelling in a meals desert can have an effect on accessing nutritious meals throughout being pregnant and throughout the postpartum interval, which may affect perinatal well being,” Ronee Wilson, PhD, an assistant professor of reproductive and perinatal epidemiology within the School of Public Well being on the College of South Florida, advised Healio. “Moreover, meals deserts are sometimes a proxy for areas experiencing socioeconomic drawback. So, there could probably be different entry points skilled by residents in these areas (eg, maternity deserts, pharmacy deserts, and so on.).”

Black Pregnant Woman
Meals deserts scale back breastfeeding initiation. Supply: Adobe Inventory.

The researchers investigated this affiliation utilizing Florida Division of Well being delivery information from 2019. They linked these information to the 2019 U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA) Meals Entry Analysis Atlas.

Wilson and colleagues outlined a meals desert tract utilizing the USDA definition of “low-income census tracts with a considerable quantity or share of residents with low ranges of entry to shops promoting wholesome and reasonably priced meals.”

Out of 209,087 reside singleton births, 16% of moms resided in a meals desert, in keeping with the researchers. These people had decreased breastfeeding initiation in contrast with those that didn’t reside in a meals desert (adjusted RR = 1.26).

The researchers discovered that Black people had the best danger for decreased initiation (aRR = 1.26), whereas Hispanic (aRR = 0.58) and Asian or Pacific Islander people (aRR = 0.74) had the bottom danger.

Decrease schooling achievement was related to decreased breastfeeding initiation (center college: aRR = 5.42; highschool: aRR = 3.46; some school: aRR = 1.95), Wilson and colleagues reported. Schooling was the social issue most strongly related to decreased breastfeeding initiation. A historical past of diabetes (aRR = 1.14) and preterm (aRR = 1.47) or low delivery weight (aRR = 1.38) was additionally related to lowered initiation, in keeping with the researchers.

“Breastfeeding is related to improved well being outcomes for moms and infants,” Adetola F. Louis-Jacques, MD, an assistant professor within the division of OB/GYN on the College of Florida and an OB/GYN on the UF Girls’s Well being Heart, advised Healio. “Breastfeeding advantages for infants embody lowered danger of ear infections, gastroenteritis and decrease respiratory tract infections requiring hospitalizations in addition to decrease danger of childhood weight problems. For moms, breastfeeding is related to lowered danger of sure varieties of cancers, hypertension, CVD and kind 2 diabetes.”

Understanding how meals deserts influence breastfeeding initiation could enable for extra tailor-made interventions like higher monitoring and analysis strategies, improved parental go away and Child Pleasant hospital designations, in keeping with Wilson.

“On a neighborhood or particular person degree, normalization of breastfeeding is essential in boosting moms breastfeeding self-efficacy and strengthening their potential to efficiently breastfeed their infants,” she stated. “Prenatal and postpartum peer counseling interventions led by social employees, household help employees and doulas have additionally been profitable in growing breastfeeding charges.”


Mapping meals deserts in the US. Revealed Dec. 1, 2011. Accessed Could 4, 2022.

Smith MA, et al. A199. Introduced at: ACOG; Could 6-8, 2022; San Diego.



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