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J Nutr. 2013 May;143(5):664-71. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.163097. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Breastfeeding in Mexico was stable, on average, but deteriorated among the poor, whereas complementary feeding improved: results from the 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Surveys.

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Research Center on Nutrition and Health, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.


We present: 1) indicators of infant and young child feeding practices (IYCFP) and median age of introduction of foods analyzed by geographic and socioeconomic variables for the 2006 national probabilistic Health Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT-2006); and 2) changes in IYCFP indicators between the 1999 national probabilistic Nutrition Survey and ENSANUT-2006, analyzed by the same variables. Participants were women 12-49 y and their <2-y-old children (2953 in 2006 and 3191 in 1999). Indicators were estimated with the status quo method. The median age of introduction of foods was calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method using recall data. The national median duration of breastfeeding was similar in both surveys, 9.7 mo in 1999 and 10.4 mo in 2006, but decreased in the vulnerable population. In 1999 indigenous women breastfed 20.8 mo but did so for only 13.0 mo in 2006. The national percentage of those exclusively breastfeeding <6 mo also remained stable: 20% in 1999 and 22.3% in 2006. Nevertheless, exclusively breastfeeding <6 mo changed within the indigenous population, from 46% in 1999 to 34.5% in 2006. Between surveys, most breastfeeding indicators had lower values in vulnerable populations than in those better-off. Complementary feeding, however, improved overall. Complementary feeding was inadequately timed: median age of introduction of plain water was 3 mo, formula and non-human milk was 5 mo, and cereals, legumes, and animal foods was 5 mo. Late introduction of animal foods occurred among vulnerable indigenous population when 50% consumed these products at 8 mo. Mexican IYCFP indicate that public policy must protect breastfeeding while promoting the timely introduction of complementary feeding.

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