Breast-feeding and the nutritional status of nursing children in Chile.Bull Pan Am Health Organ. 1996 Jun; 30(2):125-33.BP
The work reported here sought to describe the feeding patterns of Chilean children up to 18 months old and their relation to nutritional status. To this end, a survey was conducted in 1993 of 9330 Chilean children under 18 months old who were receiving care through the National Health Service System-which provides care for 75% of all children under age 6. The children, whose mothers or caretakers were interviewed, constituted 94% of a sample selected at random from 102 of the 320 urban health clinics located throughout the country. The interview served to identify the type of feeding (exclusive breast-feeding, breast-feeding plus bottle-feeding, breast-feeding plus solid food, exclusive bottle-feeding, or bottle-feeding plus solid food) and to determine the nutritional status of the participants in terms of standards used by the United States National Center for Health Statistics and the World Health Organization. Children were deemed at risk of malnutrition if they had z scores on the weight-for-age distribution between 1.0 and 2.0 standard deviations below the US/WHO standard and as actually malnourished if they had z scores of over 2.0 standard deviations below the standard. The survey found exclusive breast-feeding prevalences of 86.5%, 66.7%, and 25.3% among infants 1, 3, and 6 months old. Some 12.1% of the participants were found to have a weight-for-age deficiency, 30.7% exhibited a height-for-age deficiency, and 35.7% were found to be over-weight. The prevalence of weight-for-age and height-for-age deficiencies were found to be considerably higher among bottle-fed children than among breast-fed children. In general, the results demonstrated the benefits of exclusive breast-feeding through the first 6 months of life, the need to complement exclusive breast-feeding with solid food after that time, and the superior nutritional status of breast-fed children within the age groups studied.