Introduction Inuit Canadians are less likely to initiate breastfeeding compared to other Canadians, although they are more likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months. The objective of the present research is to identify factors associated with practicing exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months among Inuit Canadians.
Methods We used the Inuit Health Survey for Children, a cross-sectional, population based survey of pre-school aged Inuit children to identify factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months. The survey was administered in 16 communities in the territory of Nunavut in 2007 and 2008. Caregivers of Inuit children ages 3 to 5 who lived in a participating community were randomly selected to complete the interviewer- administered questionnaire. Of the 537 caregivers successfully contacted, 388 participated and 242 initiated breastfeeding and were included in our analyses. We used a forwards, stepwise, weighted logistic regression procedure to calculate ORs and 95% CIs for selected variables.
Results Preliminary findings suggest that among those initiating breastfeeding, 24.8% (n=60) practiced exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months. Inuit Canadians who speak primarily non-traditional languages in the household (OR=0.47, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.87) and who report severe food insecurity (OR=0.67, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.97) were less likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months in multivariable models.
Conclusions This is the first study to explore the role of food insecurity on breastfeeding practices among Canadian Inuit. This interesting finding deserves further exploration, particularly given the high prevalence of food insecurity in this population.
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