Breast-feeding trends in Cuba and the Americas
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In order to analize breast-feeding in the Region of the Americas vis-ã-vis trends observed in Cuba, information was culled from a selection of national surveys on the prevalence duration of breast-feeding conducted in the 1970s and compared with the results of a national survey carried out in Cuba in 1973. Similarly, information from PAHO Document HPN/92.7, which contains reports from countries of the Americas for the period 1986-1991, was compared with the results of the National Survey carried out in Cuba in 1990. A cessation index (CI) was calculated with a view to comparing the relative extent to which the cesation of breast-feeding occurred at different ages in the two time periods. The study revealed a consistent pattern: typically, a relatively high percentage of newborns were initially breast-fed, but the prevalence of exclusive breast-fedding was to low and the percentage of breast-fed infants declined quickly. However, the more recent data showed improvements in most of the countries involved with respect to both the prevalence and duration of breast-feeding. Cuba was found to have intermediate values relative to the other countries. Although a slight decline in the initial prevalence of breast-feeding was observed in 1990 (as compared to 1973) notably higher percentages of infants were being breast-fed at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days, and the CI values for the corresponding intervals up to 90 days were lower. These results suggest that positive changes have taken place in factors promoting a longer duration of breast-feedingThis article is an edited translation of the work entitled "Tendencias de la lactancia materna enCuba y las Américas" published in Spanish in the BOSP. Vol. 116(3), March 1994
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