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Indicator Metadata

NameBreastfeeding Initiation
Short/Other Names

Not applicable

DescriptionBreastfeeding initiation refers to mothers who breastfed or tried to breastfeed their last child, even if only for a short time.
InterpretationA higher percentage of breastfeeding initiation is a positive indicator of effective preventive health service.
HSP Framework Dimension

Health System Outputs: Appropriate and effective

Areas of Need

Staying Healthy

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

National, Province/Territory, Region

Indicator Results

Table 105-0501

Identifying Information
NameBreastfeeding Initiation
Short/Other Names

Not applicable

Indicator Description and Calculation
DescriptionBreastfeeding initiation refers to mothers who breastfed or tried to breastfeed their last child, even if only for a short time.
Calculation: DescriptionNumber of women age 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last five years who initiated breastfeeding their last child, divided by the number of women age 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last five years
Calculation: Geographic Assignment

Place of residence

Calculation: Type of Measurement

Percentage or proportion

Calculation: Adjustment Applied

None

Calculation: Method of Adjustment

Not applicable

Denominator

Description:
Total number of women age 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last five years

Numerator

Description:
Number of women age 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last five years who initiated breastfeeding their last child

Background, Interpretation and Benchmarks
Rationale

Child health outcomes are affected by breastfeeding initiation. According to the World Health Organization, early initiation of breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for both the mother and infant, including reduction in infant mortality and ill health. Children who are breastfed as babies perform well in intelligence tests and as adults are less likely to be overweight/obese than children who were not breastfed; mothers have reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer.

Health Canada also promotes breastfeeding as the normal and unequalled method of feeding infants for their nutrition, immunologic protection, growth and development. Breastfeeding initiation can be an important indicator of future child health and development. Of those who initiated breastfeeding, 54% continued for the recommended six months (or longer).

Interpretation

A higher percentage of breastfeeding initiation is a positive indicator of effective preventive health service.

HSP Framework Dimension

Health System Outputs: Appropriate and effective

Areas of Need

Staying Healthy

Targets/Benchmarks

Not applicable

References

Health Canada on Breastfeeding Initiation in Canada: Key Statistics and Graphics 2009-2010. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/prenatal/initiation-eng.php. Accessed September 13, 2016.

Public Health Agency of Canada in partnership with the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. 10 Great Reasons to Breastfeed your Baby, Catalogue No. HP15-6/2009E-PDF, http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/dca-dea/stages-etapes/childhood-enfance_0-2/nutrition/pdf/reasons-raisons-eng.pdf. Accessed September 13, 2016.

WHO. Nutrition: Promoting proper feeding for infants and young children; Accessed September 13, 2016. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding/en/index.html.

Statistics Canada. Health Trends 2013. Statistics Canada Catalogue No. 82-213-XWE. Ottawa. Released December 12, 2013. http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/health-sante/82-213/index.cfm?Lang=ENG. Accessed September 13, 2016.

Availability of Data Sources and Results
Data Sources

CCHS, Statistics Canada

Available Data Years

Type of Year:
Calendar
First Available Year:
2003
Last Available Year:
2012

Geographic Coverage

All provinces/territories

Reporting Level/Disaggregation

National, Province/Territory, Region

Result Updates
Update Frequency

Every year

Indicator Results

Web Tool:
Health indicator profile, annual estimates, by age group and sex, Canada, provinces, territories, health regions (2013 boundaries) and peer groups
URL:
Table 105-0501

Updates

Not applicable

Quality Statement
Caveats and Limitations

This indicator is calculated based on information provided by females age 15 to 55 who had a baby in the last five years.

The Maternal Experiences—Breastfeeding (MEX) module in the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) asks women age 15 to 55 who had given birth in the last five years before the survey about their breastfeeding practices. As a result, the MEX module does not provide estimates of the prevalence of selected breastfeeding practices at the time of data collection. Rather, it provides estimates of the percentage of mothers who engaged in selected breastfeeding practices in the previous five years.

Trending Issues

Not applicable

Comments

Not applicable