Clinical Research

Breast feeding, nutritional state, and child survival in rural Bangladesh

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.296.6626.879 (Published 26 March 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:879
  1. André Briend,
  2. Bogdan Wojtyniak,
  3. Michael G M Rowland

    Abstract

    The effect of breast feeding on nutritional state, morbidity, and child survival was examined prospectively in a community in rural Bangladesh. Every month for six months health workers inquired about breast feeding and illness and measured arm circumference in an average of 4612 children aged 12-36 months. Data from children who died within one month of a visit were compared with those from children who survived. Roughly one third of the deaths in the age range 18-36 months were attributable to absence of breast feeding. Within this age range protection conferred by breast feeding was independent of age but was evident only in severely malnourished children.

    In communities with a high prevalence of malnutrition breast feeding may substantially enhance child survival up to 3 years of age.

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