Association of social and community factors with u.s. breastfeeding outcomes

Leslie Kummer, Naomi N Duke, Laurel Davis, Iris Borowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore, in a large, nationally representative U.S. sample of children, potential independent associations between social and community factors and breastfeeding outcomes, using the Social Ecological Model as a theoretical framework. Materials and Methods: A secondary data analysis of the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children's Health was conducted (N= 29,829). Multivariate logistic regression was performed to estimate associations between predictor variables (parental emotional support, neighborhood social support, neighborhood safety, neighborhood amenities, and medical home) and breastfeeding outcomes (breastfeeding initiation [BFI] and exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months [EBF6m]). For predictor variables reaching statistical significance in the adjusted models, we performed subgroup analyses by race-ethnicity. Results: After adjusting for individual- and family-level sociodemographic and maternal-child health factors, living in a neighborhood with 4 amenities was associated with 1.54 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-2.23) times the odds of BFI, compared to children living in neighborhoods with no amenities. There was a negative association (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.83; 95% CI 0.70-0.99) between neighborhood social support and BFI, although living in a supportive neighborhood was associated with 1.37 (95% CI 1.11-1.69) times the odds of EBF6m. There was a negative association (aOR 0.71; 95% CI 0.54-0.93) between perceived neighborhood safety and EBF6m. The observed associations differed by race-ethnicity. Conclusion: Community-level structural and social support factors influence breastfeeding outcomes, independent of previously described individual level sociodemographic factors, and the observed associations differ by race-ethnicity. These findings have implications for the development of "breastfeeding-friendly"communities and public policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-654
Number of pages9
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under National Research Service Award in Primary Medical Care grant number T32HP22239 (PI: I.B.), Bureau of Health Workforce.

Publisher Copyright:
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Breastfeeding outcomes
  • Community
  • Neighborhood
  • Secondary analysis
  • Social determinants
  • Who breastfeeds

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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