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1.  Impact of ritual pollution on lactation and breastfeeding practices in rural West Bengal, India 
Background
Breastfeeding in India is universal and prolonged. Several cultural practices are associated with lactation and breastfeeding in India, mainly revolving around the concept of ritual purity and 'hot and cold' foods, food avoidance, restricted diet after childbirth, and remaining in seclusion for a certain time period because of the polluting effects of childbirth. This study on breastfeeding practices explored how the concept of ritual pollution influenced practices after delivery, including during lactation and breastfeeding.
Methods
The study was conducted in four villages of West Bengal State in India, representing different levels of socioeconomic development, religion, and caste/tribe from September 1993 to April 1994. One hundred households with one woman respondent from each household were selected from each village. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed for data collection. A survey questionnaire was administered to 402 respondents and in-depth interviews were conducted with 30 women in the reproductive age group (13–49 years), and 12 case studies were documented with women belonging to different caste, religious, and tribal groups.
Results
Belief in 'impurity and polluting effects of childbirth' necessitated seclusion and confinement of mothers after childbirth in the study villages. Breastfeeding was universal and prolonged, and food proscriptions were followed by mothers after childbirth to protect the health of their newborn. Initiation of breastfeeding was delayed after birth because of the belief that mother's milk is 'not ready' until two-to-three days postpartum. Generally, colostrum was discarded before putting the infant to the breast in the study villages. Breastfeeding lasted up to five years, and the majority of women in the sample introduced supplementary food before six months. Most infants in the study villages were given a prelacteal feed immediately after birth, only a small number of women (35) exclusively breastfed – after giving a prelacteal feed – until six months in the study villages.
Conclusion
Cultural and traditional practices have considerable implications on lactation and breastfeeding, and in the overall well-being and health of mothers and infants. Breastfeeding programs should take into account traditional beliefs and concepts when communicating with families about practices such as food restriction and food avoidance.
doi:10.1186/1746-4358-4-2
PMCID: PMC2667394  PMID: 19323839
2.  The NOURISH randomised control trial: Positive feeding practices and food preferences in early childhood - a primary prevention program for childhood obesity 
BMC Public Health  2009;9:387.
Background
Primary prevention of childhood overweight is an international priority. In Australia 20-25% of 2-8 year olds are already overweight. These children are at substantially increased the risk of becoming overweight adults, with attendant increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Early feeding practices determine infant exposure to food (type, amount, frequency) and include responses (eg coercion) to infant feeding behaviour (eg. food refusal). There is correlational evidence linking parenting style and early feeding practices to child eating behaviour and weight status. A focus on early feeding is consistent with the national focus on early childhood as the foundation for life-long health and well being. The NOURISH trial aims to implement and evaluate a community-based intervention to promote early feeding practices that will foster healthy food preferences and intake and preserve the innate capacity to self-regulate food intake in young children.
Methods/Design
This randomised controlled trial (RCT) aims to recruit 820 first-time mothers and their healthy term infants. A consecutive sample of eligible mothers will be approached postnatally at major maternity hospitals in Brisbane and Adelaide. Initial consent will be for re-contact for full enrolment when the infants are 4-7 months old. Individual mother- infant dyads will be randomised to usual care or the intervention. The intervention will provide anticipatory guidance via two modules of six fortnightly parent education and peer support group sessions, each followed by six months of regular maintenance contact. The modules will commence when the infants are aged 4-7 and 13-16 months to coincide with establishment of solid feeding, and autonomy and independence, respectively. Outcome measures will be assessed at baseline, with follow up at nine and 18 months. These will include infant intake (type and amount of foods), food preferences, feeding behaviour and growth and self-reported maternal feeding practices and parenting practices and efficacy. Covariates will include sociodemographics, infant feeding mode and temperament, maternal weight status and weight concern and child care exposure.
Discussion
Despite the strong rationale to focus on parents' early feeding practices as a key determinant of child food preferences, intake and self-regulatory capacity, prospective longitudinal and intervention studies are rare. This trial will be amongst to provide Level II evidence regarding the impact of an intervention (commencing prior to age 12 months) on children's eating patterns and behaviours.
Trial Registration
ACTRN12608000056392
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-387
PMCID: PMC2770488  PMID: 19825193
3.  The Contribution of Dietary Factors to Dental Caries and Disparities in Caries 
Academic pediatrics  2009;9(6):410-414.
Frequent consumption of simple carbohydrates, primarily in the form of dietary sugars is significantly associated with increased dental caries risk. Malnutrition (under or over nutrition) in children is often a consequence of inappropriate infant and childhood feeding practices and dietary behaviors associated with limited access to fresh, nutrient dense foods substituting instead, high-energy low cost and nutrient poor sugary and fatty foods. Lack of availability of quality food stores in rural and poor neighborhoods, food insecurity, and changing dietary beliefs resulting from acculturation including changes in traditional ethnic eating behaviors, can further deter healthful eating and increase risk for Early Childhood Caries and obesity.
America is witnessing substantial increases in children and ethnic minorities living in poverty, widening the gap in oral health disparities noted in the Surgeon General's Report, Oral Health in America. Dental and other care providers can educate and counsel pregnant women, parents and families to promote healthy eating behaviors and should advocate for governmental policies and programs that decrease parental financial and educational barriers to achieving healthy diets. For families living in poverty, however, greater efforts are needed to facilitate access to affordable healthy foods, particularly in urban and rural neighborhoods in order to effect positive changes in children's diets and advance the oral components of general health.
doi:10.1016/j.acap.2009.09.008
PMCID: PMC2862385  PMID: 19945075
Diet and pediatric caries
4.  Early childhood feeding practices and dental caries in preschool children: a multi-centre birth cohort study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:28.
Background
Dental caries (decay) is an international public health challenge, especially amongst young children. Early Childhood Caries is a rapidly progressing disease leading to severe pain, anxiety, sepsis and sleep loss, and is a major health problem particularly for disadvantaged populations. There is currently a lack of research exploring the interactions between risk and protective factors in the development of early childhood caries, in particular the effects of infant feeding practises.
Methods/Design
This is an observational cohort study and involves the recruitment of a birth cohort from disadvantaged communities in South Western Sydney. Mothers will be invited to join the study soon after the birth of their child at the time of the first home visit by Child and Family Health Nurses. Data on feeding practices and dental health behaviours will be gathered utilizing a telephone interview at 4, 8 and 12 months, and thereafter at 6 monthly intervals until the child is aged 5 years. Information collected will include a) initiation and duration of breastfeeding, b) introduction of solid food, c) intake of cariogenic and non-cariogenic foods, d) fluoride exposure, and e) oral hygiene practices. Children will have a dental and anthropometric examination at 2 and 5 years of age and the main outcome measures will be oral health quality of life, caries prevalence and caries incidence.
Discussion
This study will provide evidence of the association of early childhood feeding practices and the oral health of preschool children. In addition, information will be collected on breastfeeding practices and the oral health concerns of mothers living in disadvantaged areas in South Western Sydney.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-28
PMCID: PMC3030538  PMID: 21223601
5.  Postpartum practices of puerperal women and their influencing factors in three regions of Hubei, China 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:274.
Background
'Sitting month' is a Chinese tradition for women's postpartum custom. The present study aims to explore the postpartum dietary and health practices of puerperal women and identify their influential factors in three selected regions of Hubei, China.
Methods
A cross-sectional retrospective study was conducted in the selected urban, suburban and rural areas in the province of Hubei from 1 March to 30 May 2003. A total of 2100 women who had given birth to full-term singleton infants in the past two years were selected as the participants. Data regarding postpartum practices and potentially related factors were collected through questionnaire by trained investigators.
Results
During the puerperium, 18% of the participants never ate vegetables, 78.8% never ate fruit and 75.7% never drank milk. Behaviour taboos such as no bathing, no hair washing or teeth brushing were still popular among the participants. About half of the women didn't get out of the bed two days after giving birth. The average time they stayed in bed during this period was 18.0 h. One third of them didn't have any outdoor activities in that time periods. The educational background of both women and their spouses, location of their residence, family income, postnatal visit, nutrition and health care educational courses were found to be the influencing factors of women's postpartum practices.
Conclusion
Traditional postpartum dietary and health behaviours were still popular among women in Hubei. Identifying the factors associated with traditional postpartum practices is critical to develop better targeting health education programs. Updated Information regarding postpartum dietary and health practices should be disseminated to women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-274
PMCID: PMC1636040  PMID: 17087836
6.  A descriptive study of Cambodian refugee infant feeding practices in the United States 
Background
The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine Cambodian refugee mothers' infant feeding beliefs, practices, and decision making regarding infant feeding in the U.S. and to explore if a culturally-specific breastfeeding program is appropriate for this community.
Methods
A self-administered questionnaire and a 30 minute in-person interview were used to collect information from nine women. The audio-taped interviews were transcribed, answers compiled, and themes from each question identified.
Results
All participants practiced either traditional Cambodian diet (pregnancy and postpartum diet including, tnam sraa, herbs mixed with either wine or tea), traditional Cambodian rituals (like spung, amodified sauna) or both, despite having lived in the U.S. for many years. All nine women initiated breastfeeding, however eight women introduced infant formula while in hospital. Perceived low milk supply and returning to work were the main reasons cited for partial breastfeeding and early cessation of breastfeeding.
Conclusion
While causes of initiation of other foods are similar to those found in the U.S. as a whole, a culturally-specific Cambodian breastfeeding support program may help overcome some breastfeeding problems reported by Cambodian refugee mothers who have immigrated to the United States.
doi:10.1186/1746-4358-3-2
PMCID: PMC2266734  PMID: 18218121
7.  Infant nutrition in the first seven days of life in rural northern Ghana 
Background
Good nutrition is essential for increasing survival rates of infants. This study explored infant feeding practices in a resource-poor setting and assessed implications for future interventions focused on improving newborn health.
Methods
The study took place in the Kassena-Nankana District of the Upper East Region of northern Ghana. In-depth interviews were conducted with 35 women with newborn infants, 8 traditional birth attendants and local healers, and 16 community leaders. An additional 18 focus group discussions were conducted with household heads, compound heads and grandmothers. All interviews and discussions were audio taped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using NVivo 9.0.
Results
Community members are knowledgeable about the importance of breastfeeding, and most women with newborn infants do attempt to breastfeed. However, data suggest that traditional practices related to breastfeeding and infant nutrition continue, despite knowledge of clinical guidelines. Such traditional practices include feeding newborn infants water, gripe water, local herbs, or traditionally meaningful foods such as water mixed with the flour of guinea corn (yara’na). In this region in Ghana, there are significant cultural traditions associated with breastfeeding. For example, colostrum from first-time mothers is often tested for bitterness by putting ants in it – a process that leads to a delay in initiating breastfeeding. Our data also indicate that grandmothers – typically the mother-in-laws – wield enormous power in these communities, and their desires significantly influence breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and maintenance.
Conclusion
Prelacteal feeding is still common in rural Ghana despite demonstrating high knowledge of appropriate feeding practices. Future interventions that focus on grandmothers and religious leaders are likely to prove valuable in changing community attitudes, beliefs, and practices with regard to infant nutrition.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-76
PMCID: PMC3490996  PMID: 22857600
Infant feeding; Breastfeeding; Early neonatal; Neonatal
8.  Maternal Influences on 5- to 7-Year-Old Girls’ Intake of Multivitamin-Mineral Supplements 
Pediatrics  2002;109(3):E46.
Objective
To examine diet quality of girls who do or do not take multivitamin-mineral (MVM) supplements and to evaluate predictors of girls’ MVM use, including maternal eating behaviors, MVM use, beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions about child feeding, eating, and health.
Design
Participants were 192 mother and daughter pairs. Daughters were categorized as MVM supplement users or nonusers based on whether girls were consistently given MVM supplements at 5 and 7 years. Girls’ and mothers’ nutrient and food group intakes, maternal child-feeding practices, and maternal eating behavior were compared between the groups.
Results
Mothers who used MVM supplements were more likely to give MVM supplements to daughters. Excluding nutrients from MVM supplements, MVM users and nonusers did not differ in vitamin and mineral intake, either for girls or mothers, and patterns of food group intake were similar for users and nonusers. Mothers of MVM users reported the following: higher levels of pressuring their daughters to eat healthier diets, more monitoring of daughters’ food intake, more success in dieting for weight control, more positive evaluations of their success in eating healthy diets, and lower body mass indexes than mothers who did not give MVMs to daughters.
Conclusions
Daughters’ MVM supplement use was predicted by mothers’ beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and practices regarding mothers’ own eating and child feeding practices, rather than by daughters’ diet quality. For both MVM users and nonusers, daughters’ food group servings were below recommendations, whereas vitamin and mineral intakes exceeded recommendations, a pattern indicative of girls’ relatively high intakes of fortified foods. Mothers should be encouraged to foster healthier patterns of food intake in daughters, rather than providing MVM supplements.
PMCID: PMC2530934  PMID: 11875174
9.  The Effect of Handwashing at Recommended Times with Water Alone and With Soap on Child Diarrhea in Rural Bangladesh: An Observational Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(6):e1001052.
By observing handwashing behavior in 347 households from 50 villages across rural Bangladesh in 2007, Stephen Luby and colleagues found that hand washing with soap or hand rinsing without soap before food preparation can both reduce the burden of childhood diarrhea.
Background
Standard public health interventions to improve hand hygiene in communities with high levels of child mortality encourage community residents to wash their hands with soap at five separate key times, a recommendation that would require mothers living in impoverished households to typically wash hands with soap more than ten times per day. We analyzed data from households that received no intervention in a large prospective project evaluation to assess the relationship between observed handwashing behavior and subsequent diarrhea.
Methods and Findings
Fieldworkers conducted a 5-hour structured observation and a cross-sectional survey in 347 households from 50 villages across rural Bangladesh in 2007. For the subsequent 2 years, a trained community resident visited each of the enrolled households every month and collected information on the occurrence of diarrhea in the preceding 48 hours among household residents under the age of 5 years. Compared with children living in households where persons prepared food without washing their hands, children living in households where the food preparer washed at least one hand with water only (odds ratio [OR] = 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.57–1.05), washed both hands with water only (OR = 0.67; 95% CI = 0.51–0.89), or washed at least one hand with soap (OR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.19–0.47) had less diarrhea. In households where residents washed at least one hand with soap after defecation, children had less diarrhea (OR = 0.45; 95% CI = 0.26–0.77). There was no significant association between handwashing with or without soap before feeding a child, before eating, or after cleaning a child's anus who defecated and subsequent child diarrhea.
Conclusions
These observations suggest that handwashing before preparing food is a particularly important opportunity to prevent childhood diarrhea, and that handwashing with water alone can significantly reduce childhood diarrhea.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The resurgence of donor interest in regarding water and sanitation as fundamental public health issues has been a welcome step forward and will do much to improve the health of the 1.1 billion people world-wide without access to clean water and the 2.4 billion without access to improved sanitation. However, improving hygiene practices is also very important—studies have consistently shown that handwashing with soap reduces childhood diarrheal disease—but in reality is particularly difficult to do as this activity involves complex behavioral changes. Therefore although public health programs in communities with high child mortality commonly promote handwashing with soap, this practice is still uncommon and washing hands with water only is still common practice—partly because of the high cost of soap relative to income, the risk that conveniently placed soap would be stolen or wasted, and the inconvenience of fetching soap.
Handwashing promotion programs often focus on five “key times” for handwashing with soap—after defecation, after handling child feces or cleaning a child's anus, before preparing food, before feeding a child, and before eating—which would require requesting busy impoverished mothers to wash their hands with soap more than ten times a day.
Why Was This Study Done?
In addition to encouraging handwashing only at the most critical times, clarifying whether handwashing with water alone, a behavior that is seemingly much easier for people to practice, but for which there is little evidence, may be a way forward. In order to guide more focused and evidence-based recommendations, the researchers evaluated the control group of a large handwashing, hygiene/sanitation, and water quality improvement program—Sanitation, Hygiene Education and Water supply-Bangladesh (SHEWA-B), organized and supported by the Bangladesh Government, UNICEF, and the UK's Department for International Development. The researchers analyzed the relationship between handwashing behavior as observed at baseline and the subsequent experience of child diarrhea in participating households to identify which specific handwashing behaviors were associated with less diarrhea in young children.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The SHEWA-B intervention targeted 19.6 million people in rural Bangladesh in 68 subdistricts. In this study and with community and household consent, the researchers organized trained field workers, using a pretested instrument, to note handwashing behavior at key times and recorded handwashing behavior of all observed household at baseline in 50 randomly selected villages that served as nonintervention control households to compare with outcomes to communities receiving the SHEWA-B program. The fieldworkers recruited community monitors, female village residents who completed 3 days training on how to administer the monthly diarrhea survey, to record the frequency of diarrhea in children aged less than 3 years in control households for the subsequent two years. The researchers used statistical models to evaluate the association between the exposure variables (household characteristics and observed handwashing) and diarrhea.
Using these methods, the researchers found that compared to no handwashing at all before food preparation, children living in households where the food preparer washed at least one hand with water only, washed both hands with water only, or washed at least one hand with soap, had less diarrhea with odds ratios (ORs) of 0.78, 0.67, and 0.19, respectively. In households where residents washed at least one hand with soap after defecation, children had less diarrhea (OR = 0.45), but there was no significant association between handwashing with or without soap before feeding a child, before eating, or after cleaning a child's anus, and subsequent child diarrhea.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings from 50 villages across rural Bangladesh where fecal environmental contamination, undernutrition, and diarrhea are common, suggest that handwashing before preparing food is a particularly important opportunity to prevent childhood diarrhea, and also that handwashing with water alone can significantly reduce childhood diarrhea. In contrast to current standard recommendations, these results suggest that promoting handwashing exclusively with soap may be unwarranted. Handwashing with water alone might be seen as a step on the handwashing ladder: handwashing with water is good; handwashing with soap is better. Therefore, handwashing promotion programs in rural Bangladesh should not attempt to modify handwashing behavior at all five key times, but rather, should focus primarily on handwashing after defecation and before food preparation. Furthermore, research to develop and evaluate handwashing messages that account for the limited time and soap supplies available for low-income families, and are focused on those behaviors where there is the strongest evidence for a health benefit could help identify more effective strategies.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001052.
A four-part collection of Policy Forum articles published in November 2010 in PLoS Medicine, called “Water and Sanitation,” provides information on water, sanitation, and hygiene
Hygiene Central provides information on improving hygiene practices
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001052
PMCID: PMC3125291  PMID: 21738452
10.  Improving the intake of nutritious food in children aged 6-23 months in Wuyi County, China – a multi-method approach 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(2):157-170.
Aim
To develop affordable, appropriate, and nutritious recipes based on local food resources and dietary practices that have the potential to improve infant feeding practices.
Methods
We carried out a mixed methods study following the World Health Organization’s evaluation guidelines on the promotion of child feeding. We recruited caregivers with children aged 6-23 months in Wuyi County, Hebei Province, China. The study included a 24-hour dietary recall survey, local food market survey, and development of a key local food list, food combinations, and recipes. Mothers tested selected recipes at their homes for two weeks. We interviewed mothers to obtain their perceptions on the recipes.
Results
The 24-hour dietary recall survey included 110 mothers. Dietary diversity was poor; approximately 10% of children consumed meat and only 2% consumed vitamin A-rich vegetables. The main reason for not giving meat was the mothers’ belief that their children could not chew and digest meat. With the help of mothers, we developed six improved nutritious recipes with locally available and affordable foods. Overall, mothers liked the recipes and were willing to continue using them.
Conclusions
This is the first study using a systematic evidence-based method to develop infant complementary recipes that can address complementary feeding problems in China. We developed recipes based on local foods and preparation practices and identified the barriers that mothers faced toward feeding their children with nutritious food. To improve nutrition practices, it is important to both give mothers correct feeding knowledge and assist them in cooking nutritious foods for their children based on locally available products. Further research is needed to assess long-term effects of those recipes on the nutritional status of children.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.157
PMCID: PMC3662389  PMID: 23630143
11.  Unfolding of the C-terminal Domain of the J-protein Zuo1 Releases Autoinhibition and Activates Pdr1-dependent Transcription 
Journal of molecular biology  2012;425(1):19-31.
The C-terminal 69 residues of the J-protein Zuo1 are sufficient to activate Pdr1, a transcription factor involved in both pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) and growth control. Little is understood about the pathway of activation by this primarily ribosome-associated Hsp40 co-chaperone. Here we report that only the C-terminal 13 residues of Zuo1 are required for activation of Pdr1, with hydrophobic residues being critical for activity. Two-hybrid interaction experiments suggest that the interaction between this 13-residue Zuo1 peptide and Pdr1 is direct, analogous to the activation of Pdr1 by xenobiotics. However, simply dissociation of Zuo1 from the ribosome is not sufficient for induction of Pdr1 transcriptional activity, as the C-terminal 86 residues of Zuo1 fold into an autoinhibitory left-handed four-helix bundle. Hydrophobic residues critical for interaction with Pdr1 are sequestered within the structure of this C-terminal domain (CTD), necessitating unfolding for activation. Thus, although expression of the CTD does not result in activation, alterations that destabilize the structure cause induction of PDR. These destabilizing alterations also result in dissociation of the full-length protein from the ribosome. Thus, our results are consistent with an activation pathway in which unfolding of Zuo1’s C-terminal helical bundle domain results in ribosome dissociation followed by activation of Pdr1 via a direct interaction.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2012.09.020
PMCID: PMC3534791  PMID: 23036859
molecular chaperone; Hsp40; PDR; pleiotropic drug resistance; ribosome
12.  Early cessation of breastfeeding amongst women in South Africa: an area needing urgent attention to improve child health 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:105.
Background
Breastfeeding is a critical component of interventions to reduce child mortality. Exclusive breastfeeding practice is extremely low in South Africa and there has been no improvement in this over the past ten years largely due to fears of HIV transmission. Early cessation of breastfeeding has been found to have negative effects on child morbidity and survival in several studies in Africa. This paper reports on determinants of early breastfeeding cessation among women in South Africa.
Methods
This is a sub group analysis of a community-based cluster-randomized trial (PROMISE EBF) promoting exclusive breastfeeding in three South African sites (Paarl in the Western Cape Province, and Umlazi and Rietvlei in KwaZulu-Natal) between 2006 and 2008 (ClinicalTrials.gov no: NCT00397150). Infant feeding recall of 22 food and fluid items was collected at 3, 6, 12 and 24 weeks postpartum. Women’s experiences of breast health problems were also collected at the same time points. 999 women who ever breastfed were included in the analysis. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusting for site, arm and cluster, was performed to determine predictors of stopping breastfeeding by 12 weeks postpartum.
Results
By 12 weeks postpartum, 20% of HIV-negative women and 40% of HIV-positive women had stopped all breastfeeding. About a third of women introduced other fluids, most commonly formula milk, within the first 3 days after birth. Antenatal intention not to breastfeed and being undecided about how to feed were most strongly associated with stopping breastfeeding by 12 weeks (Adjusted odds ratio, AOR 5.6, 95% CI 3.4 – 9.5 and AOR 4.1, 95% CI 1.6 – 10.8, respectively). Also important was self-reported breast health problems associated with a 3-fold risk of stopping breastfeeding (AOR 3.1, 95%CI 1.7 – 5.7) and the mother having her own income doubled the risk of stopping breastfeeding (AOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3 – 2.8).
Conclusion
Early cessation of breastfeeding is common amongst both HIV-negative and positive women in South Africa. There is an urgent need to improve antenatal breastfeeding counselling taking into account the challenges faced by working women as well as early postnatal lactation support to prevent breast health problems.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-105
PMCID: PMC3441849  PMID: 22827969
13.  Pattern and severity of early childhood caries in Southern Italy: a preschool-based cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:206.
Background
This survey was intended to investigate prevalence and severity of early childhood caries (ECC) in a sample of children in Southern Italy and to identify factors that may be related to this condition.
Methods
The study was designed as a cross-sectional survey. The study population (children aged 36–71 months) attending thirteen kindergartens was randomly selected through a two-stage cluster sampling procedure. Parents/guardians of all eligible children were invited to participate filling out a structured self-administered questionnaire, and after having returned the informed consent form an oral examination of the child was performed at school. The questionnaire included information on: socio-demographics about parents/guardians and child, pregnancy and newborn characteristics, oral hygiene habits of child, eating habits particularly on consumption of sweets, access to dental services, and infant feeding practices. The WHO caries diagnostic criteria for deciduous decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft) and surfaces (dmfs) were used to record ECC and severe-ECC (S-ECC). Univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to evaluate statistical associations of social demographics, infant feeding practices, oral hygiene habits, and access to dental services to ECC, S-ECC, dmft and dmfs.
Results
515 children participated in the study. 19% had experienced ECC, and 2.7% severe-ECC (S-ECC), with a mean dmft and dmfs scores of 0.51 and 0.99, respectively. Mean dmft was 2.68 in ECC subjects, and 6.86 in S-ECC subjects. Statistical analysis showed that prevalence of ECC significantly increased with age (OR = 1.95; 95% CI = 1.3-2.91) and duration of breastfeeding (OR = 1.26; 95% CI = 1.01-1.57), whereas it was significantly lower in children of more educated mothers (OR = 0.64; 95% CI = 0.42-0.96), and higher in those who had been visited by a dentist in the previous year (OR = 3.29; 95% CI = 1.72-6.33).
Conclusions
Results of our study demonstrate that even in Western countries ECC and S-ECC represent a significant burden in preschool children, particularly in those disadvantaged, and that most of the known modifiable associated factors regarding feeding practices and oral hygiene are still very spread in the population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-206
PMCID: PMC3941481  PMID: 24571668
Early childhood caries; Public health; Feeding habits; Children; Prevention
14.  HIV: prevention of mother-to-child transmission  
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:0909.
Introduction
Over 2 million children are thought to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, of whom over 80% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Without antiretroviral treatment, the risk of HIV transmission from infected mothers to their children is 15% to 30% during gestation or labour, with an additional transmission risk of 10% to 20% associated with prolonged breastfeeding. HIV-1 infection accounts for most infections; HIV-2 is rarely transmitted from mother to child. Transmission is more likely in mothers with high viral loads, advanced disease, or both, in the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases, and with increased exposure to maternal blood. Mixed feeding practices (breast milk plus other liquids or solids) and prolonged breastfeeding are also associated with increased risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of measures to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to October 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Results
We found 53 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antiretroviral drugs, different methods of infant feeding, elective caesarean section, immunotherapy, micronutrient supplements, vaginal microbicides, and vitamin supplements.
Key Points
Without active intervention, the risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 is high, especially in populations where prolonged breastfeeding is the norm. Without antiviral treatment, the risk of transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their children is approximately 15% to 30% during pregnancy and labour, with an additional transmission risk of 10% to 20% associated with prolonged breastfeeding.HIV-2 is rarely transmitted from mother to child.Transmission is more likely in mothers with high viral loads, advanced HIV disease, or both.Without antiretroviral treatment (ART), 15% to 35% of vertically infected infants die within the first year of life.The long-term treatment of children with ART is complicated by multiple concerns regarding the complications associated with life-long treatment, including adverse effects of antiretroviral drugs, difficulties of adherence across the developmental trajectory of childhood and adolescence, and the development of resistance.From a paediatric perspective, successful prevention of MTCT and HIV-free survival for infants remain the most important focus.
Antiretroviral drugs given to the mother during pregnancy or labour, to the baby immediately after birth, or to the mother and baby reduce the risk of intrauterine and intrapartum MTCT of HIV-1 and when given to the infant after birth and to the mother or infant during breastfeeding reduce the risk of postpartum MTCT of HIV-1.
Reductions in MTCT are possible using multidrug ART regimens. Longer courses of ART are more effective, but the greatest benefit is derived from treatment during late pregnancy, labour, and early infancy.Suppression of the maternal viral load to undetectable levels (below 50 copies/mL) using highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) offers the greatest risk reduction, and is currently the standard of care offered in most resource-rich countries, where MTCT rates have been reduced to 1% to 2%. Alternative short-course regimens have been tested in resource-limited settings where HAART is not yet widely available. There is evidence that short courses of antiretroviral drugs have confirmed efficacy for reducing MTCT. Identifying optimal short-course regimens (drug combination, timing, and cost effectiveness) for various settings remains a focus for ongoing research.The development of viral resistance in mothers and infants after single-dose nevirapine and other short-course regimens that include single-dose nevirapine is of concern. An additional short-course of antiretrovirals with a different regimen during labour and early postpartum, and the use of HAART, may decrease the risk of viral resistance in mothers, and in infants who become HIV-infected despite prophylaxis.World Health Organization guidelines recommend starting prophylaxis with antiretroviral drugs from as early as 14 weeks' gestation, or as soon as possible if women present late in pregnancy, in labour, or at delivery.
Elective caesarean section at 38 weeks may reduce vertical transmission rates (apart from breast-milk transmission). The potential benefits of this intervention need to be balanced against the increased risk of surgery-associated complications, high cost, and feasibility issues. These reservations are particularly relevant in resource-limited settings.
Immunotherapy with HIV hyperimmune globulin seems no more effective than immunoglobulin without HIV antibody at reducing HIV-1 MTCT risk.
Vaginal microbicides have not been demonstrated to reduce HIV-1 MTCT risk.
There is no evidence that supplementation with vitamin A reduces the risk of HIV-1 MTCT, and there is concern that postnatal vitamin A supplementation for mother and infant may be associated with increased risk of mortality.
We don't know whether micronutrients are effective in prevention of MTCT of HIV as we found no RCT evidence on this outcome.
Avoidance of breastfeeding prevents postpartum transmission of HIV, but formula feeding requires access to clean water and health education. The risk of breastfeeding-related HIV transmission needs to be balanced against the multiple benefits that breastfeeding offers. In resource-poor countries, breastfeeding is strongly associated with reduced infant morbidity and improved child survival. Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months may reduce the risk of HIV transmission compared with mixed feeding, while retaining most of its associated benefits.In a population where prolonged breastfeeding is usual, early, abrupt weaning may not reduce MTCT or HIV-free survival at 2 years compared with prolonged breastfeeding, and may be associated with a higher rate of infant mortality for those infants diagnosed as HIV-infected at <4 months of age. Antiretrovirals given to the mother or the infant during breastfeeding can reduce the risk of HIV transmission in the postpartum period. World Health Organization guidelines recommend that HIV-positive mothers should exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months, after which time appropriate complementary foods can be introduced. Breastfeeding should be continued for the first 12 months of the infant's life, and stopped only when an adequate diet without breast milk can be provided. Heat- or microbicidal-treated expressed breast milk may offer value in particular settings.
PMCID: PMC3217724  PMID: 21477392
15.  A survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices towards avian influenza in an adult population of Italy 
Background
Several public health strategic interventions are required for effective prevention and control of avian influenza (AI) and it is necessary to create a communication plan to keep families adequately informed on how to avoid or reduce exposure. This investigation determined the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors relating to AI among an adult population in Italy.
Methods
From December 2005 to February 2006 a random sample of 1020 adults received a questionnaire about socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of transmission and prevention about AI, attitudes towards AI, behaviors regarding use of preventive measures and food-handling practices, and sources of information about AI.
Results
A response rate of 67% was achieved. Those in higher socioeconomic classes were more likely to identify the modes of transmission and the animals' vehicles for AI. Those older, who knew the modes of transmission and the animals' vehicles for AI, and who still need information, were more likely to know that washing hands soap before and after touching raw poultry meat and using gloves is recommended to avoid spreading of AI through food. The risk of being infected was significantly higher in those from lower socioeconomic classes, if they did not know the definition of AI, if they knew that AI could be transmitted by eating and touching raw eggs and poultry foods, and if they did not need information. Compliance with the hygienic practices during handling of raw poultry meat was more likely in those who perceived to be at higher risk, who knew the hygienic practices, who knew the modes of transmission and the animals' vehicles for AI, and who received information from health professionals and scientific journals.
Conclusion
Respondents demonstrate no detailed understanding of AI, a greater perceived risk, and a lower compliance with precautions behaviors and health educational strategies are strongly needed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-8-36
PMCID: PMC2292195  PMID: 18366644
16.  Risk Factors for Death among Children Less than 5 Years Old Hospitalized with Diarrhea in Rural Western Kenya, 2005–2007: A Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(7):e1001256.
A hospital-based surveillance study conducted by Ciara O'Reilly and colleagues describes the risk factors for death amongst children who have been hospitalized with diarrhea in rural Kenya.
Background
Diarrhea is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Data on risk factors for mortality are limited. We conducted hospital-based surveillance to characterize the etiology of diarrhea and identify risk factors for death among children hospitalized with diarrhea in rural western Kenya.
Methods and Findings
We enrolled all children <5 years old, hospitalized with diarrhea (≥3 loose stools in 24 hours) at two district hospitals in Nyanza Province, western Kenya. Clinical and demographic information was collected. Stool specimens were tested for bacterial and viral pathogens. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were carried out to identify risk factors for death. From May 23, 2005 to May 22, 2007, 1,146 children <5 years old were enrolled; 107 (9%) children died during hospitalization. Nontyphoidal Salmonella were identified in 10% (118), Campylobacter in 5% (57), and Shigella in 4% (42) of 1,137 stool samples; rotavirus was detected in 19% (196) of 1,021 stool samples. Among stools from children who died, nontyphoidal Salmonella were detected in 22%, Shigella in 11%, rotavirus in 9%, Campylobacter in 5%, and S. Typhi in <1%. In multivariable analysis, infants who died were more likely to have nontyphoidal Salmonella (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 6·8; 95% CI 3·1–14·9), and children <5 years to have Shigella (aOR = 5·5; 95% CI 2·2–14·0) identified than children who survived. Children who died were less likely to be infected with rotavirus (OR = 0·4; 95% CI 0·2–0·8). Further risk factors for death included being malnourished (aOR = 4·2; 95% CI 2·1–8·7); having oral thrush on physical exam (aOR = 2·3; 95% CI 1·4–3·8); having previously sought care at a hospital for the illness (aOR = 2·2; 95% CI 1·2–3·8); and being dehydrated as diagnosed at discharge/death (aOR = 2·5; 95% CI 1·5–4·1). A clinical diagnosis of malaria, and malaria parasites seen on blood smear, were not associated with increased risk of death. This study only captured in-hospital childhood deaths, and likely missed a substantial number of additional deaths that occurred at home.
Conclusion
Nontyphoidal Salmonella and Shigella are associated with mortality among rural Kenyan children with diarrhea who access a hospital. Improved prevention and treatment of diarrheal disease is necessary. Enhanced surveillance and simplified laboratory diagnostics in Africa may assist clinicians in appropriately treating potentially fatal diarrheal illness.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Diarrhea—passing three or more loose or liquid stools per day—kills about 1.5 million young children every year, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. Globally, it is the second leading cause of death in under-5-year olds, causing nearly one in five child deaths. Diarrhea, which can lead to life-threatening dehydration, is a common symptom of gastrointestinal infections. The pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and parasites) that cause diarrhea spread through contaminated food or drinking water, and from person to person through poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation (unsafe disposal of human excreta). Interventions that prevent diarrhea include improvements in water supplies, sanitation and hygiene, the promotion of breast feeding, and vaccination against rotavirus (a major viral cause of diarrhea). Treatments for diarrhea include oral rehydration salts, which prevent and treat dehydration, zinc supplementation, which decreases the severity and duration of diarrhea, and the use of appropriate antibiotics when indicated for severe bacterial diarrhea.
Why Was This Study Done?
Nearly half of deaths from diarrhea among young children occur in Africa where diarrhea is the single largest cause of death among under 5-year-olds and a major cause of childhood illness. Unfortunately, although some of the risk factors for death from diarrhea in children in sub-Saharan Africa have been identified (for example, having other illnesses, poor nutrition, and not being breastfed), little is known about the relative contributions of different diarrhea-causing pathogens to diarrheal deaths. Clinicians need to know which of these pathogens are most likely to cause death in children so that they can manage their patients appropriately. In this cohort study, the researchers characterize the causes and risk factors associated with death among young children hospitalized for diarrhea in Nyanza Province, western Kenya, an area where most households have no access to safe drinking water and a quarter lack latrines. In a cohort study, a group of people with a specific condition is observed to identify which factors lead to different outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled all the children under 5 years old who were hospitalized over a two-year period for diarrhea at two district hospitals in Nyanza Province, tested their stool samples for diarrhea-causing viral and bacterial pathogens, and recorded which patients died in-hospital. They then used multivariable regression analysis (a statistical method) to determine which risk factors and diarrheal pathogens were associated with death among the children. During the study, 1,146 children were hospitalized, 107 of whom died in the hospital. 10% of all the stool samples contained nontyphoidal Salmonella, 4% contained Shigella (two types of diarrhea-causing bacteria), and 19% contained rotavirus. By contrast, 22% of the samples taken from children who died contained nontyphoidal Salmonella, 11% contained Shigella, 9% contained rotavirus, and 5% contained Campylobacter (another bacterial pathogen that causes diarrhea). Compared to survivors, infants (children under 1 year of age) who died were nearly seven times more likely to have nontyphoidal Salmonella in their stools and children under 5 years old who died were five and half times more likely to have Shigella in their stools but less likely to have rotavirus in their stools. Other factors associated with death included being malnourished, having oral thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth), having previously sought hospital care for diarrhea, and being dehydrated.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, among young children admitted to the hospital in western Kenya with diarrhea, infections with nontyphoidal Salmonella and with Shigella (but not with rotavirus) were associated with an increased risk of death. Because this study only captured deaths in hospital and most diarrheal deaths in developing countries occur at home, these results may not accurately reflect the pathogens associated with overall childhood diarrheal deaths. In addition, they may not be generalizable to other geographical regions. Nevertheless, given that that there are currently no vaccines available for most bacterial diarrheal diseases, these findings highlight the importance of Kenya and other developing countries implementing effective strategies for the prevention and management of diarrheal diseases in children such as increasing access to improved water, sanitation, and hygiene, and community-level promotion of the use of oral rehydration solution and zinc supplements. They also suggest that enhanced surveillance and simplified laboratory diagnostics for diarrheal pathogens could help clinicians identify those children presenting to hospital with diarrhea who are at high risk of death and prioritize their treatment.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001256.
The World Health Organization provides information on diarrhea (in several languages); its 2009 report with UNICEF Diarrhea: why children are still dying and what can be done, which includes the WHO/UNICEF recommendations for the treatment and prevention of diarrhea in children, can be downloaded from the Internet
The children's charity UNICEF, which protects the rights of children and young people around the world, provides information on diarrhea (in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001256
PMCID: PMC3389023  PMID: 22802736
17.  Risk determinants associated with early childhood caries in Uygur children: a preschool-based cross-sectional study 
BMC Oral Health  2014;14(1):136.
Background
The prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC) varies with geographical region and population. The Uygur people, one of 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities in China, have a population of 10,069,346. We performed a preschool-based cross-sectional study of 670 Uygur children from the southern region of Xinjiang, China, to investigate the prevalence and severity of ECC and to identify factors related to the dental health condition of this population.
Methods
The study population of children ranging in age from 3 to 5 years was invited using a three-stage stratified sampling in Kashgar, the westernmost city in China. The “dmft” index was used to assess dental caries. The diagnosis of ECC or severe ECC was based on the oral health diagnostic criteria defined by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. A questionnaire was completed by the children’s caregivers. The survey included questions concerning the children’s sociodemographic background; feeding and eating habits, particularly frequency of sweet beverage and food consumption; dental hygiene-related behaviors; the general oral health knowledge of caregivers; and the dental healthcare experience of caregivers and their children.
Results
A total of 670 Uygur children underwent complete dental caries examination. Most of the children (74.2%) had ECC, with a mean dmft ± SD of 3.95 ± 3.84. The prevalence of severe ECC was 40.1% (N =269), with a mean dmft of 7.72 ± 3.14. More than 99% of caries were untreated. Statistically significant correlations were found between higher ECC prevalence and increased age and lower socioeconomic background, while greater dental health knowledge of the caregiver and positive oral hygiene behaviors were found to be protective. Our findings confirm the multi-factorial etiology of ECC.
Conclusions
The prevalence of ECC among preschool-aged Uygur children in Kashgar was high, particularly among those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Caries prevalence was associated with oral hygiene behaviors of children and the general oral health knowledge of caregivers. These factors could be modified through public health strategies, including effective publicity concerning general dental health and practical health advice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-136) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-136
PMCID: PMC4242481  PMID: 25407041
Early childhood caries; Risk indicators; Uygur ethnic minority
18.  Dirt, disgust and disease: a natural history of hygiene 
Hygiene has been studied from multiple perspectives, including that of history. I define hygiene as the set of behaviours that animals, including humans, use to avoid infection. I argue that it has an ancient evolutionary history, and that most animals exhibit such behaviours because they were adaptive. In humans, the avoidance of infectious threats is motivated by the emotion of disgust. Intuition about hygiene, dirt and disease can be found underlying belief about health and disease throughout history. Purification ritual, miasma, contagion, zymotic and germ theories of disease are ideas that spread through society because they are intuitively attractive, because they are supported by evidence either from direct experience or from authoritative report and because they are consistent with existing beliefs. In contrast to much historical and anthropological assertion, I argue that hygiene behaviour and disgust predate culture and so cannot fully be explained as its product. The history of ideas about disease thus is neither entirely socially constructed nor an “heroic progress” of scientists leading the ignorant into the light. As an animal behaviour the proper domain of hygiene is biology, and without this perspective attempts at explanation are incomplete. The approaches of biological anthropology have much to offer the practice of cultural history.
doi:10.1136/jech.2007.062380
PMCID: PMC2652987  PMID: 17630362
19.  HIV: mother-to-child transmission 
Clinical Evidence  2008;2008:0909.
Introduction
Over 2 million children are thought to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, of whom over 80% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Without anti-retroviral treatment, the risk of HIV transmission from infected mothers to their children is 15-30% during gestation or labour, and 15-20% during breast feeding. HIV-1 infection accounts for most infections; HIV-2 is rarely transmitted from mother to child. Transmission is more likely in mothers with high viral loads and/or advanced disease, in the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases, and with increased exposure to maternal blood.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: What are the effects of measures to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to January 2007 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Results
We found 18 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: antiretroviral drugs, different methods of infant feeding, elective caesarean section, immunotherapy, vaginal microbicides, and vitamin supplements.
Key Points
Without active intervention, the risk of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 is high, especially in populations where prolonged breast feeding is the norm. Without antiviral treatment, the risk of transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their children is approximately 15-30% during pregnancy and labour, with an additional 10-20% transmission risk attributed to prolonged breast feeding.HIV-2 is rarely transmitted from mother to child.Transmission is more likely in mothers with high viral loads and/or advanced HIV disease.Without antiretroviral treatment (ART), 15-30% of vertically infected infants die within the first year of life.The long-term treatment of children with ART is complicated by multiple concerns regarding the development of resistance, and adverse effects.From a paediatric perspective, successful prevention of MTCT remains the most important focus.
Antiretroviral drugs given to the mother during pregnancy or labour, and/or to the baby immediately after birth, reduce the risk of MTCT of HIV-1.
Reductions in MTCT are possible using simple ART regimens. Longer courses of ART are more effective, but the greatest benefit is derived from treatment during late pregnancy, labour, and early infancy.Suppression of the maternal viral load to undetectable levels (below 50 copies/mL) using highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) offers the greatest risk reduction, and is currently the standard of care offered in most resource-rich countries, where MTCT rates have been reduced to 1-2%. Alternative short-course regimens have been tested in resource-limited settings where HAART is not yet widely available. RCTs demonstrate that short courses of antiretroviral drugs have proven efficacy for reducing MTCT. Identifying optimal short-course regimens (drug combination, timing, and cost effectiveness) for various settings remains a focus for ongoing research.
Avoidance of breast feeding prevents postpartum transmission of HIV, but formula feeding requires access to clean water and health education. The risk of breast feeding-related HIV transmission needs to be balanced against the multiple benefits that breast feeding offers. In resource-poor countries, breast feeding is strongly associated with reduced infant morbidity and improved child survival. Modified breastfeeding practices may reduce the risk of HIV transmission while retaining some of its associated benefits.In settings where formula feeding is not feasible (no clean water, insufficient health education, significant cultural barriers) modified breastfeeding practices may offer the best compromise.Early breast feeding with weaning around age 4-6 months may offer an HIV-free survival benefit compared with either formula, mixed feeding, or prolonged breast feeding.Heat- or microbicidal-treated expressed breast milk may offer value in particular settings.
Elective caesarean section at 38 weeks may reduce vertical transmission rates (apart from breast-milk transmission). The potential benefits of this intervention need to be balanced against the increased risk of surgery-associated complications, high cost, and feasibility issues. These reservations are particularly relevant in resource-limited settings.
Immunotherapy with HIV hyperimmune globulin or immunoglobulin without HIV antibody does not reduce HIV-1 MTCT risk.
Vaginal microbiocides have not been demonstrated to reduce HIV-1 MTCT risk.
There is no evidence that vitamin A or multivitamin supplementation reduces the risk of HIV-1 MTCT or infant mortality.
PMCID: PMC2907958  PMID: 19450331
20.  Association of Breastfeeding With Maternal Control of Infant Feeding at Age 1 Year 
Pediatrics  2004;114(5):e577-e583.
Objective
Previous studies have found that breastfeeding may protect infants against future overweight. One proposed mechanism is that breastfeeding, compared with bottle-feeding, may promote maternal feeding styles that are less controlling and more responsive to infant cues of hunger and satiety, thereby allowing infants greater self-regulation of energy intake. The objective of this study was to examine whether preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding duration are associated with less maternal restrictive behavior and less pressure to eat.
Methods
We studied 1160 mother–infant pairs in Project Viva, an ongoing prospective cohort study of pregnant mothers and their children. The main outcome measures were mothers’ reports of restricting their children’s food intake and of pressuring their children to eat more food, as measured by a modified Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ) at 1 year postpartum. Restriction was defined by strongly agreeing or agreeing with the following question from the modified CFQ: “I have to be careful not to feed my child too much.” We derived a continuous pressure to eat score from 5 questions of the modified CFQ. We used multiple logistic regression to examine the association between preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life, breastfeeding duration, and mothers’ restriction of children’s access to food. We used multiple linear regression, both before and after adjusting for several groups of confounders, to predict the effects of breastfeeding on the mothers’ scores for pressuring their children to eat.
Results
The mean (SD) age of the women was 32.4 (4.8) years; 24% of the women were nonwhite, and 32% were primigravidas. At 6 months postpartum, 24% of the mothers were exclusively breastfeeding, 25% were mixed feeding, 41% had weaned, and 10% had fed their infants formula only. The mean (SD) duration of breastfeeding was 6.3 (4.5) months. Thirteen percent of the mothers strongly agreed or agreed with the restriction question. The mean (SD) score on the pressure to eat scale was 5.3 (3.7), and the range was 0 to 20. After adjusting for mothers’ preexisting concerns about their children’s future eating and weight status, as well as sociodemographic, economic, and anthropometric predictors of breastfeeding duration, we found that the longer the mothers breastfed, the less likely they were to restrict their children’s food intake at age 1 year. The adjusted odds ratio was 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.84–0.95) for each 1-month increment in breastfeeding duration. In addition, we found that compared with mothers who were exclusively formula feeding, mothers who were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months of age had much lower odds of restricting their children’s food intake at 1 year (odds ratio: 0.27; 95% CI: 0.10–0.72). Preponderance of breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding duration (β = −0.01 points on the 0–20 scale for each additional 1 month of breastfeeding [95% CI: −0.07 to 0.05]) were not related to mothers’ pressuring their children to eat more.
Conclusion
Mothers who fed their infants breast milk in early infancy and who breastfed for longer periods reported less restrictive behavior regarding child feeding at 1 year. Additional longitudinal studies should examine the extent to which any protective effect of breastfeeding on overweight is explained by decreased maternal feeding restriction.
doi:10.1542/peds.2004-0801
PMCID: PMC1989686  PMID: 15492358
21.  Two-Year Morbidity–Mortality and Alternatives to Prolonged Breast-Feeding among Children Born to HIV-Infected Mothers in Côte d'Ivoire 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(1):e17.
Background
Little is known about the long-term safety of infant feeding interventions aimed at reducing breast milk HIV transmission in Africa.
Methods and Findings
In 2001–2005, HIV-infected pregnant women having received in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, a peripartum antiretroviral prophylaxis were presented antenatally with infant feeding interventions: either artificial feeding, or exclusive breast-feeding and then early cessation from 4 mo of age. Nutritional counseling and clinical management were provided for 2 y. Breast-milk substitutes were provided for free. The primary outcome was the occurrence of adverse health outcomes in children, defined as validated morbid events (diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, or malnutrition) or severe events (hospitalization or death). Hazards ratios to compare formula-fed versus short-term breast-fed (reference) children were adjusted for confounders (baseline covariates and pediatric HIV status as a time-dependant covariate). The 18-mo mortality rates were also compared to those observed in the Ditrame historical trial, which was conducted at the same sites in 1995–1998, and in which long-term breast-feeding was practiced in the absence of any specific infant feeding intervention. Of the 557 live-born children, 262 (47%) were breast-fed for a median of 4 mo, whereas 295 were formula-fed. Over the 2-y follow-up period, 37% of the formula-fed and 34% of the short-term breast-fed children remained free from any adverse health outcome (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.10; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.87–1.38; p = 0.43). The 2-y probability of presenting with a severe event was the same among formula-fed (14%) and short-term breast-fed children (15%) (adjusted HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.75–1.91; p = 0.44). An overall 18-mo probability of survival of 96% was observed among both HIV-uninfected short-term and formula-fed children, which was similar to the 95% probability observed in the long-term breast-fed ones of the Ditrame trial.
Conclusions
The 2-y rates of adverse health outcomes were similar among short-term breast-fed and formula-fed children. Mortality rates did not differ significantly between these two groups and, after adjustment for pediatric HIV status, were similar to those observed among long-term breast-fed children. Given appropriate nutritional counseling and care, access to clean water, and a supply of breast-milk substitutes, these alternatives to prolonged breast-feeding can be safe interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in urban African settings.
Given appropriate nutritional counseling and care, access to clean water, and supply of breast milk substitutes, replacing prolonged breast-feeding with formula-feeding appears to be a safe intervention to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in this setting.
Editors' Summary
Background.
The HIV virus can be transmitted from infected mothers to their babies during pregnancy and birth as well as after birth through breast milk. Mother-to-child transmission in developed countries has been all but eliminated by treatment of mothers with the best available combination of antiretroviral drugs and by asking them to avoid breast-feeding. However, in many developing countries, the best drug treatments are not available to mothers. Moreover, breast-feeding is generally the best nutritional choice for infants, especially in areas where resources such as clean water, formula feed, and provision of healthcare are scarce. And even if formula feed is available, formula-fed babies might be at higher risk of dying from diarrhea and chest infections, which are more common in infants who are not breast-fed. International guidelines say that HIV-positive mothers should avoid all breast-feeding and adopt formula feeding instead if this option is practical and safe for them, which would require that they can afford formula feed and have easy access to clean water. If formula-feeding is not feasible, guidelines recommend that mothers should breast-feed only for the first few months and then stop and switch the baby to solid food. One of these two alternative options should be feasible in most African cities if mothers are given the right support.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several completed and ongoing studies are assessing the relative risks and benefits of the two recommended strategies for different developing country locations, and this is one of them. The study, the “Ditrame Plus” trial by researchers from France and Côte d'Ivoire, was conducted in Abidjan, an urban West African setting. The goal was to compare death rates and rates of certain diseases (such as diarrhea and chest infections) between babies born to HIV-positive mothers that were formula-fed and those that were breast-fed for a short time after birth.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
HIV-positive pregnant women were invited to enter the study, and they received short-term drug treatments intended to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their babies. Women in the trial were then asked to choose one of the two feeding options and offered support and counseling for either one. This support included free formula, transport, and healthcare provision. Babies were followed up to their second birthday, and data were collected on death rates and any serious illnesses. A total of 643 women were enrolled into the study, and safety data were collected for 557 babies, of whom 295 were in the formula group and 262 were in the short-term breast-feeding group. The researchers corrected for HIV infection in the babies and found no evidence that the risk of other negative health outcomes and death rates was any different between the formula-fed babies and short-term breast-fed babies. Looking specifically at individual diseases, the researchers found that the risks for diarrhea and chest infections were slightly higher among formula-fed babies, but this did not translate into a greater risk of death or worse overall health. They also compared the death rates in this study with some historical data from a previous research project done in the same area on children born to HIV-positive mothers who had practiced long-term breast-feeding. The mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV had been much higher in that earlier trial, but looking only at the HIV-negative children, the researchers found no difference in risk for death or serious disease between the formula-fed or short-term breast-fed babies from the Ditrame Plus trial and the long-term breast-fed babies from the earlier trial.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study shows that if HIV-positive mothers are well supported, either of the two feeding options currently recommended (formula-only feed, or short-term breast-feeding) are likely to be equivalent in terms of the baby's chances for survival and health. However, women in this study were offered a great deal of support and the findings may not necessarily apply to real-life situations in other settings in Africa, or outside the context of a research project. In addition to routine care after birth, access to better drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission in developing countries remains an important goal.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040017.
Resources from Avert (an AIDS charity) on HIV and infant feeding.
Information from the US Centers for Disease Control on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
Guidelines from the World Health Organization on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
AIDSMap pages on breast-feeding and HIV
HIV Care and PMTCT in Resource-Limited Setting contains monthly bulletins and a database devoted to HIV/AIDS infections and prevention of the mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The Ghent group is a network of researchers and policymakers in the area of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040017
PMCID: PMC1769413  PMID: 17227132
22.  The Feeding Demands Questionnaire: Assessment of Parental Demand Cognitions Concerning Parent–Child Feeding Relations 
Background
There are few validated instruments measuring parental beliefs about parent–child feeding relations and child compliance during meals.
Objective
To test the validity of the Feeding Demands Questionnaire, a parent-report instrument designed to measure parents’ beliefs about how their child should eat.
Methods
Participants were 85 mothers of 3- to 7-year-old same-sex twin pairs or sibling pairs, and their children. Mothers completed the eight-item Feeding Demands Questionnaire and the Child Feeding Questionnaire, plus measures of depression and fear of fat.
Statistical analyses
Psychometric evaluations of the Feeding Demands Questionnaire included principal components analysis, Cronbach’s α for internal consistency, tests for convergent and discriminant validities, and Flesh-Kincaid for readability.
Results
The Feeding Demands Questionnaire had three underlying factors: anger/frustration, food amount demandingness, and food type demandingness, for which subscales were computed. The Feeding Demands Questionnaire showed acceptable internal consistency (α ranging from .70 to .86) and was written at the 4.8th grade level. Mothers reporting greater anger/frustration during feeding were more likely to pressure their children to eat, while those reporting greater demands about the type of foods their children eat were more likely to monitor child fat intake. Mothers reporting greater demands about the amount of food their children eat were more likely to restrict eating, pressure children to eat, and monitor their fat intake.
Conclusions
The Feeding Demands Questionnaire appears valid for assessing maternal beliefs that children should comply with rules for eating and frustration during feeding. Different demand beliefs can underlie different feeding practices.
doi:10.1016/j.jada.2008.01.007
PMCID: PMC2917044  PMID: 18375218
23.  A focus group study of healthy eating knowledge, practices, and barriers among adult and adolescent immigrants and refugees in the United States 
Background
Immigrants and refugees to the United States exhibit lower dietary quality than the general population, but reasons for this disparity are poorly understood. In this study, we describe the meanings of food, health and wellbeing through the reported dietary preferences, beliefs, and practices of adults and adolescents from four immigrant and refugee communities in the Midwestern United States.
Methods
Using a community based participatory research approach, we conducted a qualitative research study with 16 audio-recorded focus groups with adults and adolescents who self-identified as Mexican, Somali, Cambodian, and Sudanese. Focus group topics were eating patterns, perceptions of healthy eating in the country of origin and in the U.S., how food decisions are made and who in the family is involved in food preparation and decisions, barriers and facilitators to healthy eating, and gender and generational differences in eating practices. A team of investigators and community research partners analyzed all transcripts in full before reducing data to codes through consensus. Broader themes were created to encompass multiple codes.
Results
Results show that participants have similar perspectives about the barriers (personal, environmental, structural) and benefits of healthy eating (e.g., ‘junk food is bad’). We identified four themes consistent across all four communities: Ways of Knowing about Healthy Eating (‘Meanings;’ ‘Motivations;’ ‘Knowledge Sources’), Eating Practices (‘Family Practices;’ ‘Americanized Eating Practices’ ‘Eating What’s Easy’), Barriers (‘Taste and Cravings;’ ‘Easy Access to Junk Food;’ ‘Role of Family;’ Cultural Foods and Traditions;’ ‘Time;’ ‘Finances’), and Preferences for Intervention (‘Family Counseling;’ Community Education;’ and ‘Healthier Traditional Meals.’). Some generational (adult vs. adolescents) and gender differences were observed.
Conclusions
Our study demonstrates how personal, structural, and societal/cultural factors influence meanings of food and dietary practices across immigrant and refugee populations. We conclude that cultural factors are not fixed variables that occur independently from the contexts in which they are embedded.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-11-63
PMCID: PMC4030459  PMID: 24886062
24.  Postpartum traditions and nutrition practices among urban Lao women and their infants in Vientiane, Lao PDR 
Background/Objective
To assess the traditional postpartum practices, mother and child nutritional status and associated factors.
Subjects/Methods
A cross-sectional study in 41 randomly selected villages on the outskirts of Vientiane capital city, Lao PDR (Laos). 300 pairs of infants (<6 months of age) and their mothers were enrolled. Information was collected about pregnancy, delivery and traditional practices through a standardized questionnaire. Dietary intake and food frequency were estimated using the 24 h recall method, calibrated bowls and FAO food composition tables. Mothers’ and infants’ anthropometry was assessed and multivariate analysis performed.
Results
Contrasting with a high antenatal care attendance (91%) and delivery under health professional supervision (72%), a high prevalence of traditional practices was found, including exposure to hot beds of embers (97%), use of traditional herb tea as the only beverage (95%) and restricted diets (90%). Twenty-five mothers (8.3%) were underweight. Mothers had insufficient intake of calories (55.6%), lipids (67.4%), iron (92.0%), vitamins A (99.3%) and C (45%), thiamin (96.6%) and calcium (96.6%). Chewed glutinous rice was given to infants as an early (mean 34.6, 95% CI:29.3–39.8 days) complementary food by 53.7% of mothers, and was associated with stunting in 10% children (OR = 1.35, 95% CI:1.04–1.75).
Conclusion
The high prevalence of traditional postpartum restricted diets and practices, and inadequate maternal nutritional intake in urban Laos, suggest that antenatal care may be an important opportunity to improve postpartum diets.
doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602928
PMCID: PMC3435433  PMID: 18000519
food taboo; Lao PDR; mother; beliefs; children; infant
25.  Parent-led or baby-led? Associations between complementary feeding practices and health-related behaviours in a survey of New Zealand families 
BMJ Open  2013;3(12):e003946.
Objective
To determine feeding practices and selected health-related behaviours in New Zealand families following a ‘baby-led’ or more traditional ‘parent-led’ method for introducing complementary foods.
Design, setting and participants
199 mothers completed an online survey about introducing complementary foods to their infant. Participants were classified into one of four groups: ‘adherent baby-led weaning (BLW)’, the infant mostly or entirely fed themselves at 6–7 months; ‘self-identified BLW’, mothers reported following BLW at 6–7 months but were using spoon-feeding at least half the time; ‘parent-led feeding’, the mother reported not having tried BLW; and ‘unclassified method’, the mother reported they were not following BLW at 6–7 months but reported the infant mostly or entirely fed themselves at 6–7 months.
Results
8% were following ‘adherent BLW’, 21% ‘self-identified BLW’ and 0% were following the ‘unclassified method’. Compared with ‘self-identified BLW’ and ‘parent-led feeding’, a higher proportion of the ‘adherent BLW’ met the WHO recommendations to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and to introduce complementary foods at 6 months. The ‘adherent BLW’ group was more likely to have family foods (p=0.018), and less likely (p=0.002) to have commercially prepared baby food. Both BLW groups were more likely to share meals with the family compared with ‘parent-led feeding’. In contrast to ‘self-identified BLW’ and ‘parent-led feeding’, the ‘adherent BLW’ group did not offer iron-fortified cereal as a first food.
Conclusions
This study suggests that although many parents consider they follow BLW, a very few are following it strictly. The extent to which BLW was followed was associated with potential benefits (eg, sharing family meals) and risks (eg, low iron first foods) highlighting the importance for health professionals and researchers of accurately determining the extent of adherence to BLW.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003946
PMCID: PMC3863128  PMID: 24327363
NUTRITION & DIETETICS; Complementary feeding; Baby-Led Weaning

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