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Breastfeeding and later psychosocial development in the Philippines

Authors

  • Paulita Duazo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Office of Population Studies, University of San Carlos, Talamban Campus, Cebu City 6000, Philippines
    • Junior Research Associate, Office of Population Studies, University of San Carlos, Talamban Campus, Cebu City 6000, Philippines
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  • Josephine Avila,

    1. Office of Population Studies, University of San Carlos, Talamban Campus, Cebu City 6000, Philippines
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  • Christopher W. Kuzawa

    1. Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208
    2. Cells to Society: The Center for the Study of Social Disparities and Health at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208
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Abstract

Objectives: Evaluate whether breastfeeding (BF) duration predicts later psychosocial development (PD) in a large low socioeconomic status (SES) sample in the Philippines.

Methods: The sample consists of 2,752 children aged 5–6 years who were measured in 2004 as part of the Philippine government's Early Childhood Development Project. Duration of any BF was the primary independent variable in regression models predicting a cumulative index of PD that has been shown previously to predict school readiness.

Results: In this sample, mothers who breastfed their children for longer tended to have lower educational attainment and to come from lower income households. Despite this, BF duration was a positive predictor of future PD measured in late childhood, but only after adjustment for SES and related confounders.

Conclusions: These findings add to growing evidence that BF could provide lasting economic and social benefits and underscore the importance of continuing current public health efforts to promote BF in the Philippines and across the globe. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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