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Original Research

Breastfeeding prevalence and distribution in the USA and Appalachia by rural and urban setting

Submitted: 27 January 2011
Revised: 26 February 2011
Published: 2 May 2011

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Author(s) : Wiener R, Wiener MA.

Citation: Wiener R, Wiener MA.  Breastfeeding prevalence and distribution in the USA and Appalachia by rural and urban setting. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2011; 11: 1713. Available: (Accessed 17 October 2017)


Introduction:  Breastfeeding provides health benefits to infants and mothers, yet many women decide against breastfeeding. This study examined differences in the prevalence of breastfeeding among national, urban, rural, and Appalachian regions of the USA.
Methods:  Secondary data analysis of the US 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (n=27 388) data were completed for prevalence, insurance coverage, and medical home (a source of comprehensive primary care) determinations according to rural or urban location.
Results:  The weighted US and Appalachian prevalences of breastfeeding were 0.755 (CI 0.743-0.767) and 0.683 (CI 0.672-0.694). National and Appalachian urban prevalences were 0.770 (CI 0.757-0.784) and 0.715 (CI 0.702-0.728). Rural areas had a significantly lower prevalence of breastfeeding of 0.687 (CI 0.661-0.713). Appalachia was significantly lower than the national rural level at 0.576 (CI 0.554-0.598). Women with Medicaid/State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) had an odds ratio of 1.79 of not breastfeeding compared with privately insured women. Nationally, 26.6% (CI 24.5-28.7) of children of women who did not breastfeed did not have a medical home.
Conclusions:  Anticipatory guidance about breastfeeding with culturally sensitive awareness programs and interventions directed at rural populations, especially in high risk geographic areas such as Appalachia, may be needed. Healthcare professionals have a unique opportunity to provide anticipatory guidance to pregnant women by discussing the benefits of breastfeeding during visits. High school health educational programs should address the benefits of breastfeeding with rural females.

Key words: Appalachia, breastfeeding in rural areas, rural-urban breastfeeding prevalence, USA.

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