Breastfeeding knowledge and attitudes of dietetic students in Texas
Breastfeeding provides optimum nutrition for infants and health benefits to mothers, and is increasingly considered the standard for infant feeding rather than the exception. Although they may influence breastfeeding practices, research regarding current and future dietitians' breastfeeding knowledge and attitudes is limited. To determine future dietitians' knowledge and attitudes toward breastfeeding, an online survey of students in Texas Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) and Dietetic Internship (DI) programs (N≈1,500) was conducted. The questionnaire including demographics, knowledge, and attitude questions was developed, reviewed by experts, and pilot-tested. SPSS was used to compute descriptive statistics, independent sample t-tests, MANOVA, and ANOVA. Participants totaled 316 students (approximately 21%) and were more knowledgeable about breastfeeding benefits (average 70%) than barriers (48.1%), recommendations (44.3%), or techniques (41.8%). Respondents had positive attitudes toward breastfeeding in general (4.0±0.4) and their future professional role in encouraging breastfeeding (4.3±0.5). Results show dietetic students have positive attitudes toward breastfeeding but may need further education in breastfeeding barriers, recommendations, and techniques.
0573: Public health