Breastfeeding and Later Psychosocial Development in the Philippines

Paulita L. Duazo, University of San Carlos
Josephine Avila, University of San Carlos
Christopher Kuzawa, Northwestern University

Recent work has emphasized the lasting impact of early environments on health, social capital and economic performance. This study evaluates whether breastfeeding duration predicts later psychosocial development in a large low SES sample in the Philippines. The sample consists of 4218 children aged 5 to 7 years who were measured in 2004 as part of the Philippine government's Early Childhood Development Project (ECD).Duration of any breastfeeding was the primary exposure, and was related to psychosocial development at 5-7 years assessed by the Revised ECD Checklist (REC) representing 7 developmental domains. In this sample, women who breastfed longer have lower education and SES. After holding these factors constant in multivariate models, longer breastfeeding duration predicts higher future psychosocial development. These findings are broadly consistent with another recent study in the Philippines, and add evidence that breastfeeding provides economic or social benefits that transcend conventional benefits to infant growth and nutrition.

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Presented in Poster Session 6