Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Georgia C. Lauritzen


Georgia C. Lauritzen


Ronald Canfield


Noreen Schvaneveldt


Roxanne Pfister


The United States Department of Health and Human Services wrote Healthy People 2000 National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives. One major goal is to reduce the mortality rate for infants by reducing low birthweight. The disparities have been great when goals and objectives are applied to poor and minority populations.

Objectives have been set to reduce risk factors associated with low infant birthweight. These include addressing inappropriate health practices, and appropriate nutrition for mother and infant.

Forty-eight Asian and 50 Caucasian participants were compared for maternal diet, health practices, breastfeeding initiation and duration, and infant growth parameters. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

Results showed 39 (81.3%) of the Asians and 43 (86.0%) of the Caucasians were breastfeeding at least once a day. There was no significant difference in the reasons for cessation of breastfeeding between ethnicities. Diets were compared for kilocalories, protein, iron, calcium, vitamins A and C, and folate. Asian mothers had greater iron (13.13 mg) and vitamin A (2606.18 µg) intakes, along with a more nutrient dense diet overall. Caucasian mothers reported a greater calcium intake (1087.08 mg).

ANOVA (one-way analysis of variance) revealed no significant differences in nutrient intakes. However, Multiple Range Test Analysis identified calcium intake of Asian breastfeeding women (767.40 mg) as significantly lower than that of Caucasian nonbreastfeeding women (1094.89 mg). Vitamin A intake was higher in nonbreastfeeding Asian women (2788.46 µg) than in nonbreastfeeding (1740.44 µg) and breastfeeding (845.75 µg) Caucasian women.

Bivariate analysis revealed positive correlation between the Asian group and tobacco use during pregnancy. Mean height for age and mean weight for age were significantly greater in breastfed babies. Weight for height was not greater, indicating they are not proportionally different from their nonbreastfed peers.



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