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How To... - Interpret Data - Case Studies - Breastfeeding
What: Is low breastfeeding prevalence a health problem?

 
More info on Breastfeeding Case Study:
 Is low breastfeeding prevalence a health problem?
 Is it changing over time?
 Where is the problem?
 Who is affected?
 Is it changing among specific groups over time?
   

Healthy People 2010 established target breastfeeding prevalence for the general population. Based on the established targets, 75 percent of all mothers should be breastfeeding their babies during the early postpartum period, and 50 and 25 percent of mothers should be breastfeeding at 6 months and 12 months, respectively. According to a national U.S. survey, 70.1% of mothers breastfeed their infants during the early postpartum period and only 33.2% of all mothers breastfed at 6 months and 19.7% at 12 months. (Motherís Survey, Ross Laboratories, 2002) These breastfeeding prevalences fall below the Healthy People 2010 targets and are considered to be a public health problem.

The PedNSS Table 2C, Summary of Health Indicators shows the percentage of infants ever breastfed and breastfed at 6 and 12 months. To determine how much of a problem low breastfeeding prevalence is in a state WIC Program, we will compare their breastfeeding prevalence to the Healthy People 2010 breastfeeding targets.


Sample: PedNSS Table 2C, Summary of Health Indicators

table showing state and national prevalence of breastfeeding indicators

1 The prevalence of infants ever breastfed was 48.4% in 2001 for the state WIC program compared to 47.5% for the national PedNSS which is considerably below the 2010 target prevalence of 75 percent.
2 Breastfed at least 6 and 12 months are measurements of breastfeeding duration. The prevalence of infants breastfed at 6 months is 18.5% and at 12 months is 14.2% in the state compared to the national PedNSS prevalence of 20.6% and 12.3% respectively. These prevalences are also considerably below the Healthy People 2010 target prevalence of 50 percent and 25 percent for 6 and 12 months.


Sample: PedNSS Table 3C, Summary of Breastfeeding Indicators

The PedNSS Table 3C, Summary of Breastfeeding Indicators, shows the percentage of infants who are being breastfed at a given age defined in weeks and months. The percentage of infants reported at each point in time represents the breastfeeding duration prevalence at that time.

table showing state prevalence of breastfeeding duration indicators

1 The prevalence of infants breastfed 1+ weeks for the state WIC program is 50% compared to the prevalence of 34.5 % for breastfed 6+ weeks when many mothers return to work or school.


What is the health problem?

The prevalence of infants ever breastfed is 48.4 percent compared to the Healthy People 2010 target prevalence of 75 percent and the U.S. prevalence of 70.1%. The prevalence of infants breastfed at 6 months is 18.5% and at 12 months is 14.2% compared to their respective targets of 50 percent and 25 percent. A large decrease in the prevalence of breastfeeding occurs between 1 and 6 weeks of age indicating that women are most likely to stop breastfeeding during the first 6 weeks.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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This page last updated November 04, 2009

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity