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Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira

Print version ISSN 0104-4230


FERREIRA, Haroldo da Silva; VIEIRA, Evla Darc Ferro; CABRAL JUNIOR, Cyro Rego  and  QUEIROZ, Marina Dhandara Rodrigues de. Breastfeeding for at least thirty days is a protective factor against overweight in preschool children from the semiarid region of Alagoas. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. [online]. 2010, vol.56, n.1, pp.74-80. ISSN 0104-4230.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of breastfeeding on the occurrence of anthropometric deviations among preschool children of the semiarid region of Alagoas (Brazil) and possible associated factors. METHODS: In probability sample of 716 children 1-3 years of age, anthropometric, socioeconomic, demographic and health data were collected. The dependent variables were stunting (height-for-age < -2 SD) and overweight (weight-for-height > 2 SD) relative to WHO-2006 standard. Children were categorized into "breastfed" (breastfeeding > 30 days) and "not breastfed" (breastfeeding <30 days). Data were submitted to bivariate (x2) and multivariate (logistic regression) analyses. RESULTS: Prevalence of overweight and stunting were 11.5% and 6.3% respectively. Although 87.3% belonged to the lower economic classes (D and E), 44.3% of mothers had a BMI > 25 kg/m2. Among the 716 children, 489 (68.3%) were breastfed, 65 (9.0%) were not breastfed and 162 (22.7%) were still breastfeeding. Among those of the breastfed group, 213 (43.5%) received breast milk for more than 12 months. In bivariate analysis the prevalence of overweight was higher among the not breastfed group (12.7% vs. 6.0%; 95% CI = 1.0 to 5.5). Factors independently associated with stunting were lower birth weight, living in rural areas and mother not living with a companion. Overweight was associated with no breastfeeding, maternal smoking during pregnancy and birth weight > 4.0 kg. CONCLUSION: Breastfeeding for a minimum period of thirty days had a protective effect against overweight in preschool children of the semiarid region of Alagoas.

Keywords : Breastfeeding; Anthropometry; Overweight; Growth and Development; Child health (Public health).

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