Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Many studies have shown that any amount of breastfeeding decreases a child's risk of otitis media, gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes . Breastfeeding for one month or more decreases the risk of SIDS; two months or more decreases the risk of celiac disease; and breastfeeding for more than three months decreases the risk of type 1 diabetes, atopic dermatitis, and asthma. The benefits continue to grow if a child is breastfed more than six months (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012) .

Even though the benefits of breastfeeding are well documented, low-income women are still less likely to breastfeed (McDowell, Wang, & Kennedy-Stephenson, 2008). Only 57% of infants born to low-income families were ever breastfed, compared to 74% of infants born to higher income families (McDowell et al., 2008) .

The increased rate of lower health literacy among low-income adults supports the correlation that low-income women who are accessing breastfeeding education materials may have lower health literacy. If low-income women are not able to understand the educational materials they are given this could affect the rates of breastfeeding. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy results show that among adults who receive Medicaid (health insurance for low-income adults), 30% had below basic health literacy, compared to only 7% of adults who received employer-provided insurance (Kutner, Greenberg, Jin, & Paulsen, 2006) .

Taking into consideration the higher rate oflow health literacy among low-income individuals, the current breastfeeding education materials at the Dean Clinic Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) department will be assessed. New materials will bedeveloped to meet the needs of all patients, including those with low health literacy .