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Bull World Health Organ. 1989; 67(6): 701–706.
PMCID: PMC2491303

Infant feeding and risk of severe diarrhoea in Basrah city, Iraq: a case-control study.


A case-control study of the relationship between feeding mode and risk of hospitalized diarrhoea in infants (aged 2-11 months) in Basrah city was conducted between September 1983 and May 1984. A total of 597 cases were recruited from among infants admitted with diarrhoea to the major paediatric hospital in the city, while 723 controls were recruited from among healthy infants attending any of the seven maternal and child health clinics in Basrah. A variety of potentially confounding variables were controlled in the analysis. For infants aged 2-5 months, breast-feeding alone or breast-feeding plus food were the least risky feeding modes. Bottle-feeding was dangerous and bottle-feeding alone was associated with a risk of 55 among infants aged 2-3 months, and 37 among infants aged 4-5 months, relative to exclusive breast-feeding. For older infants (6-11 months), the risks of hospitalized diarrhoea were not significantly different among different partial breast-feeding modes, but non-breastfeeding was dangerous, especially exclusive bottle-feeding. Food intake was associated with a reduced risk of severe diarrhoea among bottle-fed infants but not with an increased risk among breast-fed infants. Among bottle-fed infants, no association was found between risk of severe diarrhoea and method of bottle-cleaning. Previous breast-feeding conferred no current protection.

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Selected References

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