School of Natural Sciences
Rapid economic and cultural transition in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been accompanied by new challenges to public health; most notably a rapid rise in chronic disease. Breastfeeding is known to improve health outcomes in adulthood, is associated with reduced risk of developing chronic disease, and is therefore an important public health issue for this rapidly increasing population. Factors associated with infant feeding practices were examined in a cohort of 125 Emirati women and their infants, with data collected at birth and 3, 6 and 15 months postpartum by questionnaires and interviews. Participants were recruited in the Corniche Hospital, the main maternity hospital in the city of Abu Dhabi. Factors affecting the duration of breastfeeding and the introduction of complementary foods were investigated using univariate and multivariate statistics. Recommended infant feeding practices, such as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and timely introduction of appropriate complementary foods, were poorly adhered to. Factors implicated in early cessation of breastfeeding included: time to first breastfeed, mother’s education level, employment status and early introduction of complementary foods.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.