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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


SPYRIDES, Maria Helena Constantino; STRUCHINER, Cláudio José; BARBOSA, Maria Tereza Serrano  and  KAC, Gilberto. Breastfeeding practices and infant growth: a longitudinal study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1999/2001. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.21, n.3, pp.756-766. ISSN 1678-4464.

Various studies have shown significant differences in growth patterns between breastfed and formula-fed infants. This paper aims to evaluate the effect of predominant breastfeeding duration on anthropometric profile and to detect determinants associated with growth in Brazilian infants. Four hundred and seventy nine infants were studied in a health center in Rio de Janeiro through a longitudinal study with four follow-up waves at 0.5, 2, 6, and 9 months. The response variables were body weight and length, collected according to a standardized procedure. Data analysis was performed having longitudinal mixed-effects model as the main statistical procedure. Gestational age, birth weight, and birth length were positively associated with weight and length gains. The positive effect showed that the longer breastfeeding lasts, the greater the weight gains. Infants born through vaginal delivery presented lower weight gains than those born by cesarean delivery. The results emphasize the need for health programs encouraging breastfeeding practices up to the sixth month of life.

Keywords : Breast Feeding; Nutritional Status; Child Welfare; Growth.

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