Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

John Green

Relational Format



State legislation focused on promoting and supporting breastfeeding is relatively new, beginning in the 1990s. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is an association between state breastfeeding rates and state breastfeeding legislation and other institutional policies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases breastfeeding report cards with the most up-to-date state breastfeeding rates. These reports are used to examine the relationship between state breastfeeding rates and number of breastfeeding policies passed by a state. Government initiatives, such as Healthy People Initiative, and organizational practices, such as Baby-Friendly USA Inc., are also studied to determine their possible influence on state breastfeeding rates. For the purpose of this study, states are divided into four regions to allow for regional comparisons in breastfeeding rates, breastfeeding legislation, other breastfeeding policies, and socioeconomic effects to be observed. This study found that state legislation regarding breastfeeding has an unclear relationship with breastfeeding rates; however, the increased presence of Baby-Friendly facilities may be a moderating factor for increased breastfeeding initiation rates.

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