Child feeding and diarrhea morbidity

Graciete O. Vieira, Luciana R. Silva, Tatiana de O. Vieira

J Pediatr (Rio J) 2003;79(5):449-54


Feeding at the breast is of great relevance to the protection of children from a large number of different infections, above all acute diarrhea (1). In a meta-analysis performed under the auspices of the WHO and based on data from three continents, it was demonstrated that the risk of death from infectious diseases is 5.8 times greater for infants weaned during the first two months of life when compared with those who are breastfed. This protection reduces as the child grows and during the second year, the level of risk oscillates between 1.6 and 2.1 (1).

Arifeen (2001), by means of a prospective cohort study of 1,677 children, demonstrated that exclusive breastfeeding confers strong protection against death from diarrhea and that predominant breastfeeding or the absence of breastfeeding were associated with a 2.23 times greater risk of dying from infectious diseases and a 3.94 times greater risk of dying from respiratory infections and diarrhea. Similarly, Yoon et al. (1997), in a study performed in the Philippines with 9,942 children less than a year old, evaluated the effects of malnutrition and the absence of breastfeeding on the risk of dying from diarrhea and respiratory infections. The absence of breastfeeding had a greater impact upon mortality from diarrhea than on mortality from respiratory infections. Children less than six months old, who were not breastfed or who had been weaned presented an eight to ten times greater risk of dying from diarrhea.

A cikk teljes szövege megtalálható a Journal de Pediatria oldalán.