Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Hazel Forsythe


Vital statistics data were statistically analyzed to determine who is breastfeeding in central Kentucky and if factors differ between those in a WIC and non-WIC population. The sample consisted of 479 postpartum women aged 18-44 in central Kentucky. Participants in the study were analyzed as a whole, then divided by their participation in the WIC program (n=304) or non-participation in the WIC program (n=175). Variables recorded in the vital statistics form were analyzed. These variables included age, education level, marital status, and ethnicity of the mother, household income status, and gender, gestational age, and birth weight of the infant. In the population studied, education level, ethnicity, marital status, household income status, and gestational age of the infant were significantly different between mothers who initiated breastfeeding and those who did not. In the WIC population, mothers were more likely to initiate breastfeeding if they were of non-white ethnicity or if the infant was born at greater than 37 weeks gestation; whereas, in the non-WIC population, mothers were more likely to initiate breastfeeding if they had some college or a college degree or if they were not enrolled in Medicaid. WIC participants were significantly less likely to initiate breastfeeding than non-WIC participants.