Acculturaiton, body image, and their interplay with breastfeeding behaviors among Hispanic origin women

Galya Bigman, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Hispanic and Mexican women exhibit comparable breastfeeding behavior, as roughly only one in five and one in seven newborns, respectively are fully breastfed. Both populations undergoing somewhat different cultural shifts that have influenced their general health lifestyle; however, less is known about their breastfeeding behaviors. A systematic review was conducted on the relationship between acculturation and breastfeeding behaviors among Hispanics using five databases. From 1,637 potential studies published through December 2015, we retrieved 16. We found that 50% of the studies employed the unidimensional model, 38% used proxy measures, and the bidimensional and multidimensional models were employed only once (6% each). Overall, 12 studies (75%) indicated a negative general association between higher acculturation and breastfeeding behaviors, and four studies (25%), which were conducted predominantly among Hispanics of Dominican Republic and/or Puerto Rican descent, did not find any significant findings. Further research involving bidimensional and multidimensional models and their association with breastfeeding behaviors are needed to elucidate the complexities inherent in this important link. I also sought to get a ‘snapshot’ of the globalization and urbanization processes currently underway in Mexico and how it is associated with breastfeeding behaviors by examining two distinct aspects of this phenomenon: body image dissatisfaction and Indian origin status. We utilized data from the Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT) 2012. The analytic study sample comprised 11,417 adult females, of these, 92% of initiated breastfeeding and 66% breastfed their last child for at least 6 months. We found that for each one unit of increase in body image dissatisfaction score, the odds of breastfeeding for at least 6 months decreased by eight percent (OR=0.92 95% CI: 0.88-0.97) after adjusting for maternal age, household socio economic status, Indian origin status, education, marital status, employment, parity, methods of delivery, and weight status. Among women of Indian origin the results were significant (OR=0.83 95% CI: 0.75-0.93) compared to non-Indian women (OR=0.95 95% CI: 0.89-1.00). Among obese women the results were significant (OR=0.86 95% CI: 0.80-0.93) compared to overweight women and to normal weight women. Overall, the findings emphasized the relationships between cultural (acculturation) and psychosocial (body image dissatisfaction) factors and their independent association with breastfeeding behaviors in Hispanic and Mexican women. Health promotion program aimed at Hispanics should include cultural elements in its curriculum. Body image concerns should be integrated as well in health promotion, which must be addressed in specific segments of the populations including those of Indian origin and obese women.

Subject Area

Biostatistics|Hispanic American studies|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Bigman, Galya, "Acculturaiton, body image, and their interplay with breastfeeding behaviors among Hispanic origin women" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10126235.