Predicting breastfeeding duration with the IMD

The health benefits of breastfeeding are well known. According to the NHS breastfed babies are less likely to contract eczma, chest and ear infections, diahorrea and vomiting and less likely to become obese and experience associated later life issues like type 2 diabetes. For mothers it reduces chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer, burns up to 500 calories a day and builds a stronger bond with your baby. So if we want to promote this, what factors might indicate lower levels of breastfeeding?

A 2009 study of two areas in England and Wales published in the European Journal of Public Health found a significant link between deprivation (based on 2007’s Indices of Multiple Deprivation) and breastfeeding duration, specifically that “both the English and Welsh Indices of Deprivation were inversely associated with breastfeeding duration. Mothers who breastfed for a greater period of time lived in areas of lower deprivation”. They also found a stronger association with IMD than other social indicators.

As IMD can be accessed remotely, quickly and cheaply they concluded it was a useful tool for identifying areas with higher populations of women ‘at risk’ of short breastfeeding duration.

Read the study here.

Click here for the NHS info.

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