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Study Says Breastfeeding Rates Lower for African American Moms

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Here are the results of a new CDC study… from the Chicago Sun Times:

Breast-feeding rates in the United States have been on the rise for the last two decades. Yet, in all but two states, new figures show, black women continue to be less likely than whites and Hispanics to choose this option, despite the health benefits.
A state-by-state analysis released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 54 percent of African-American women attempt to breast-feed their babies, compared to 80 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of whites. In Illinois, 45.9 percent of black women attempt breast-feeding.
CDC researchers also found that in western states, Hispanic mothers are less likely than whites to breast-feed, while the opposite is true in many eastern states.
Overall, 73 percent of American women try breast-feeding, though less than half are still doing it after six months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The figures, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, are based on phone interviews with about 100,000 moms of children born between 2003 and 2006.
Researchers noted that while the gap between blacks and whites in initiating breast-feeding is smaller than in 1990, there’s been no improvement in prevalence of breast-feeding to six months.
“There’s some amount of it that’s the socioeconomic difference, but there seems to be something else going on,” said the CDC’s Cria Perrine, a co-author of the study. “There’s not a ton of research on the why.”
Factors that can contribute to lower rates include the mother being younger, unmarried or less educated and participating in the federal Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program. But even among college-educated women, a racial disparity still exists.

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