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This study investigated the effect of exclusive breastfeeding on head circumference (HC) among children living in impoverished communities. A cross-sectional study was conducted among children 12-60 months old from the 39 quilombos located in the State of Alagoas, Brazil. HC deficit was defined by a z-score of less than -2 from the median (based on the 2006 World Health Organization growth standards). Prevalence ratio and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were estimated using Poisson regression with robust adjustment of the variance, and estimates were adjusted for possible confounders (anthropometric, socioeconomic, demographic, and health-related variables). We evaluated 725 children (365 boys and 360 girls). The prevalence of HC deficit was 13.3% among those children who were exclusively breastfed for less than 30 days, 10.6% among those exclusively breastfed for 30-119 days, and 5.8% among those who were exclusively breastfed for 120 days or more. Even after controlling for possible confounding variables, exclusive breastfeeding for ≥4 months decreased the risk of HC deficit (prevalence ratio, 0.48; 95% CI 0.24, 0.99). Exclusive breastfeeding for ≥4 months was associated with a larger HC in children exposed to great social vulnerability in impoverished communities.


Haroldo da Silva Ferreira, Antonio Fernando Silva Xavier Júnior, Monica Lopes de Assunção, Ewerton Amorim Dos Santos, Bernardo Lessa Horta. Effect of breastfeeding on head circumference of children from impoverished communities. Breastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. 2013 Jun;8(3):294-301

PMID: 23414229

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