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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
August 22/29, 2017

Racial Disparities Remain in Breastfeeding Rates

JAMA. 2017;318(8):691. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.10454

Despite a decade’s worth of improvements in breastfeeding rates in the United States, disparities between black and white infants remain substantial. In some cases, according to CDC researchers, the gaps have only widened since 2003.

An analysis of National Immunization Survey data for all infants born between 2010 and 2013 showed that 79.2% were breastfed at least briefly, 20% were fed exclusively with breast milk through their first 6 months, and 27.8% were breastfed for 12 months. However, stark differences between black and white infants emerged from the data: 81.5% of white infants were breastfed compared with 64.3% of black infants. Those figures included 22.5% of white infants and 14% of black infants who were breastfed exclusively for 6 months. In addition, 30.8% of white infants but only 17.1% of black infants were breastfed for 12 months.

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