The comparison of parents’ educational level on the breastfeeding status between Turkmen and non Turkmen ethnic groups in the north of Iran
Background: Mother’s milk plays an important role in infant’s health, and World Health Organization (WHO) recommends infants should be breastfed for 2 years or up.
Aim: The main objective of this study was to evaluate the breastfeeding status based on parents’ educational level with comparison between Turkman and non‑Turkman ethnic groups in the North of Iran in 2010.
Subjects and Methods: This is a descriptive, cross‑sectional study, which was carried out on 6519 subjects (3897 = non‑Turkman and 2622 = Turkman) in urban and rural areas. Data have been collected through interviewing with primary school children’s mothers. The schools and students were selected using multi‑cluster random sampling methods. Breastfeeding was defined based on WHO predominant definition.
Results: Of all mothers, 5.8% (377/6519) breastfed for 6 months, 34.8% (2265/6519) for 7-18 months, 57.4% (3745/6519) for 18-24 months and 2% (132/6519) didn’t breastfeed their infants. Breastfeeding prevalence at 19-24 months in Turkman ethnic group (64.7%; 1696/2622) was significantly more than in non‑Turkman ethnic group (52.6%; 2049/3897) (P < 0.01) besides early weaning prevalence (at 6 months) in Turkman group was significantly less than in non‑Turkman group (4.7%; 123/2622 vs. 6.5%; 254/3897) (P < 0.01). Odds ratio for weaning before 6 months in non‑Turkman mothers were 0.563 (0.365-0.786, confidence interval [CI] 95%) in 1-12 years schooling and 0.665 (0.486-0.910, CI: 95%) in uneducated groups compared to college educated. This ratio in Turkman fathers was 3.413 (1.726-6.746, CI: 95%) in 1-12 years schooling compared with college educated.
Conclusion: The duration of breastfeeding was longer among Turkman compared with non‑Turkman mothers, and longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with higher educational level in the Turkman but not in the non‑Turkman mothers.
Keywords: Breastfeeding, Education, Ethnicity, Iran