Anxiety about food supply in cree women with infants in Quebec

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Willows, Noreen D. ; Iserhoff, Rose ; Napash, Lily ; Leclerc, Lucie ; Verrall, Tanya (2005)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v64i1.17954
  • Subject: aboriginal, breastfeeding, Canada, First Nations, Food security, nutrition

Objectives. The objectives were to document the prevalence of maternal anxiety about food supply in Cree women who had 9-month-old infants, and to understand maternal and infant characteristics associated with anxiety. Study Design. The design was descriptive and combined both cross-sectional and retrospective analyses. Methods. The study took place in nine Cree communities in northern Quebec. Data on maternal characteristics in pregnancy (age, parity, anemia, smoking status) and infant characteristics (gestational age, birth weight, weight and hemoglobin concentration at 9 months old) were obtained from medical records. At 9 months postpartum, mothers were asked about infant feeding practices, the health of their infant, and the question, "Do you ever worry you don’t have enough money to buy your children food to eat?" Affirmative responses were considered evidence for anxiety about food supply. Pricing data was collected for commercial baby food, formula, milk and water in the communities and, for comparison, in the large urban city of Montreal. Results. 245 woman-infant pairs participated. One-fifth (20.8%) of mothers were anxious about food supply. The prevalences of anxiety in women who had anemia, or smoked, during pregnancy, or who bottle-fed their 9-month-old infants, were 44.4%, 27.5% and 24.0%, respectively. The corresponding prevalences of anxiety in women who did not have anemia, who did not smoke, or who breastfed without bottle-feeding at 9-months postpartum, were 19.0%, 13.6% and 6.7%. The adjusted ORs for anxiety were 3.10 (95% CI, 1.11-8.65), 2.12 (95% CI, 1.05-4.29) and 3.87 (95% CI, 1.12-13.36) for anemia, smoking and bottle-feeding, respectively. Prevalences of anemia and infection were comparable between infants of mothers who did and did not express anxiety. However, infants whose mothers had anemia during pregnancy had higher prevalences of anemia (44.0% vs. 24.6%, p = 0.04) and infection (77.8% vs. 50.2%, p = 0.03) at 9 months old. Conclusion. Women who had anxiety about food supply for their children had characteristics that distinguished them from women who did not have anxiety. Anxiety was associated with anemia and smoking during pregnancy, and with bottle-feeding at 9 months postpartum.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2005; 64(1):55-64)Keywords: aboriginal, breastfeeding, Canada, First Nations, Food security, nutrition
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