Breast-feeding, weaning patterns, and the risk of xerophthalmia in Southern Malawi

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42 Scopus citations


A case-control study of breast-feeding and weaning patterns associated with xerophthalmia was conducted among children aged 24-71 mo in Southern Malawi in 1983. One hundred fifty-two children with active xerophthalmia were compared to 151 clinically normal children matched on age (± 12 mo), sex, and village of residence. All children were initially breast-fed; however, children with xerophthalmia began weaning onto porridge (p = 0.05) and ceased breast-feeding earlier (p < 0.01 for 24-47 mo olds), had a shorter weaning interval (p < 0.005), and were fully weaned from the breast for a longer duration (p < 0.025) than the controls. The association between earlier cessation of breast-feeding and subsequent xerophthalmia was strongest during the immediate post-weaning years. These findings imply a protective role for breast-feeding against xerophthalmia in early childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-697
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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