Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health


Purpose: Obesity/Overweight in children is an epidemic and the most common disorder of childhood in the developed world. Prevalence is increasing, leading to short- and long-term complications. Breastfeeding may protect against childhood obesity, but the debate is ongoing. The main purpose of this project was to assess the relationship between breastfeeding and being overweight in early childhood.Methods: Data were collected from the State and Local Area Integrated Telephone survey; National Survey of Children's Health, 2003. Overall, 16,358 children, ages 3 to 5, were included in the sample. SPSS Complex Sample software was utilized to generate for all analyses. Complex samples crosstabs was utilized to see if there is association between the outcome and risk factors. Complex samples logistic regression was done to assess whether breastfeeding is associated with being overweight in childhood after adjustment for potential confounders.Results: Being overweight was more prevalent among children who are Black, living at 95th percentile). After adjusting for confounders, the effect remained statistically significant (OR: 1.6; 95% confidence interval: 1.2-2.1).Conclusions: Breastfeeding has a protective effect against being overweight in children 3 to 5 years of age. While more research is needed to investigate the risk factors for overweight, public health efforts should continue to promote breastfeeding as a safe and effective method for nutrition, which has the potential to improve the overall health of children.


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VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Epidemiology Commons