Many studies have found that individuals with higher incomes are more likely to adopt healthy behaviors, whereas lower-income individuals often have less ability to make healthy lifestyle changes. As an example, socio-demographic variables have been found to have profound importance in rates of breastfeeding mothers. Various studies have found a relationship between socioeconomic status and both the initiation and the duration of breastfeeding. Australian researchers conducted a study to investigate breastfeeding trends within the country between 1995 and 2005.
The experimental methods involved a secondary analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ national health survey, using data from 1995, 2001, and 2004. These data were compared to the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) classification data. The intent of the analyses was to assess the relationship between socioeconomic status and breastfeeding rates at initiation, 3, 6, and 12 months. Some of the data found in these studies is presented in the table below. In addition, some qualitative data was obtained through randomized surveys to breastfeeding women. It was found that women in lower socioeconomic groups are less likely to interact socially with other women who breastfeed, and are more likely to interact with women who are less educated, obese, and smokers. There was also an inverse correlation found between breastfeeding and number of infant hospitalizations from birth to 24 months.
Table 1. Percentage of women who initiate breastfeeding; data separated by household income quintiles.
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