Happy to share a new study on women health and nutrition.
‘Breastfeeding, pregnant, and non-breastfeeding nor pregnant women’s food consumption: A matched within-household analysis in India’, Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare (Elsevier), by,
Jasmine Fledderjohann, Sukumar Vellakkal, David Stuckler
Promoting breastfeeding is major maternal and child health goal in India. It is unclear whether mothers receive additional food needed to support healthy breastfeeding.
Using the latest National Family and Health Survey (2005–2006), we applied multilevel linear regression models to document correlates of nutrition for (n = 20,764) breastfeeding women. We then compared consumption of pulses, eggs, meat, fish, dairy, fruit, and vegetables across a sample of breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding/pregnant (NBP), and pregnant women (n = 3409) matched within households and five-year age bands. We tested whether breastfeeding women had greater advantages in the 18 high-focus states of India’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
Vegetarianism, caste, and religion were the strongest predictors of breastfeeding women’s nutrition. Breastfeeding women had no nutritional advantage compared to NBP women, and were disadvantaged in their consumption of milk (b = −0.14) in low-focus states. Pregnant women were similarly disadvantaged in their consumption of milk in low-focus states (b = −0.32), but consumed vegetables more frequently (b = 0.12) than NBP women in high-focus states.
Breastfeeding women do not receive nutritional advantages compared to NBP women. Targeted effort is needed to assess and improve nutritional adequacy for breastfeeding Indian women.