Certified Lactation Counselor Scholarship
Breastfeeding is beneficial to almost all mothers and infants, but the benefits may be significantly greater for minority women. Minority women are disproportionately affected by adverse health outcomes, which may improve with breastfeeding. Relative to white women in the United States, African American and Hispanic women have increased rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Women who breastfeed exclusively are more likely to lose weight postpartum than women who breastfeed non exclusively and formula-feed. Some studies also suggest that breastfeeding may decrease the risk for obesity in the infant during childhood. Longer breastfeeding duration has also been associated with reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes in the mother.
African Americans continue to have the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation (60%) and continuation at 6 months (28%) and 12 months (13%) compared with all other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Although improvements in breastfeeding rates for African American women are evident from the 2000–2007 National Immunization Survey, African American mothers are still 2.5 times less likely to breastfeed than white women. A 16 percentage-point gap in the prevalence of continued breastfeeding for 6 months has been consistent since 1990 between African American and white women.
(Statistics from National Institutes Of Health)