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BMJ. 2001 Aug 11;323(7308):303-6.

Ecological study of effect of breast feeding on infant mortality in Latin America.

Author information

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain. betrana@who.int

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the effect of exclusive breast feeding and partial breast feeding on infant mortality from diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory infections in Latin America.

DESIGN:

Attributable fraction analysis of national data on infant mortality and breast feeding.

SETTING:

Latin America and the Caribbean.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Mortality from diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory infections and nationally representative breastfeeding rates.

RESULTS:

55% of infant deaths from diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory infections in Latin America are preventable by exclusive breast feeding among infants aged 0-3 months and partial breast feeding throughout the remainder of infancy. Among infants aged 0-3 months, 66% of deaths from these causes are preventable by exclusive breast feeding; among infants aged 4-11 months, 32% of such deaths are preventable by partial breast feeding. 13.9% of infant deaths from all causes are preventable by these breastfeeding patterns. The annual number of preventable deaths is about 52 000 for the region.

CONCLUSIONS:

Exclusive breast feeding of infants aged 0-3 months and partial breast feeding throughout the remainder of infancy could substantially reduce infant mortality in Latin America. Interventions to promote breast feeding should target younger infants.

PMID:
11498485
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC37315
Free PMC Article
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