Local Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration: A Cross-Sectional Population-Based Survey in Ten Chicago Community Areas


Breastfeeding confers substantial health benefits to women and infants. While disparities in breastfeeding persist in the United States, the extent of these disparities at the local level is unclear. This study aimed to identify local level and racial/ethnic breastfeeding disparities within Chicago. A community-based representative survey including questions on breastfeeding was conducted in Chicago. We estimated the proportion of women who breastfed their last child for any length of time and who breastfed at 6 months by neighborhood and maternal characteristics. We performed Rao-Scott corrected chi-squared tests to analyze factors hypothesized to be associated with breastfeeding. Between March 2015 and September 2016, 641 women with at least one live birth completed the survey. We found no differences by community area in the breastfeeding initiation or breastfeeding for at least 6 months. Puerto Rican women had the lowest prevalence of breastfeeding initiation and continuation at 6 months in contrast to Mexican women who reported the highest prevalence of these practices. We found breastfeeding disparities between Puerto Rican and Mexican Hispanic subgroups. Policies and programs aimed at increasing breastfeeding should prioritize groups that are least likely to initiate breastfeeding or most likely to breastfeed for a limited duration.

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This work was supported by the Chicago Community Trust (Grant Numbers C2013-00630, C2014-01723, C2015-04294).

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Correspondence to Michelle M. Hughes.

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Hughes, M.M., Saiyed, N.S., Roesch, P.T. et al. Local Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation and Duration: A Cross-Sectional Population-Based Survey in Ten Chicago Community Areas. J Community Health 44, 629–635 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-018-00597-3

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  • Breastfeeding
  • Epidemiology
  • Disparities
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Survey