Objective: To examine the trends in breastfeeding disparities across Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) eligibility and participation statuses in the last 2 decades.
Design: Secondary analyses from multiple cross-sectional surveys.
Setting: United States.
Participants: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2014 included 10,696 children younger than 60 months. Birth cohorts in 4-year increments were created from 1994 to 2014.
Main outcome measures: Ever-breastfed status and breastfed-at-6-months status.
Analysis: The prevalence rates of ever-breastfed and breastfed at 6 months were estimated between WIC-eligible vs non-eligible children and WIC-eligible participants vs eligible nonparticipants. Prevalence rates and their 95% confidence intervals were plotted across birth cohorts. Log-binomial regression was conducted to test the trends of breastfeeding in each subgroup.
Results: Ever-breastfeeding rates increased from 52% (WIC participants) vs 57% (WIC-eligible nonparticipants) in the 1994-1997 birth cohort to 71% vs 77% in the 2010-2014 birth cohort-a 36% vs 34% relative increase for participants vs eligible nonparticipants, respectively (P < .001). Breastfeeding-at-6-month rates increased from 28% (participants) vs 30% (eligible nonparticipants) to 34% vs 49% in the same time period-a 21% vs 66% relative increase, respectively (P < .001).
Conclusion and implications: To meet the Healthy People 2020's goal for breastfeeding at 6 months, sustainable postpartum breastfeeding education and interventions may be needed among WIC participants. Future research focusing on identification of the causal relationship between WIC participation and breastfeeding outcomes is warranted.
Keywords: NHANES; WIC; breastfeeding; disparities; infant.
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