Number of the Day: 77.2%

January 4, 2011 | Number of The Day

Most New Jersey mothers have gotten the message that breastfeeding is healthy for babies, and they are following the advice: 77.2 percent of Garden State children five years or younger have been breastfed for at least some period of time, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health, a project of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Institute located at Oregon State University.

Hispanic mothers are the most likely to breastfeed (83.6 percent); followed by white, non-Hispanics (76.3 percent); and black mothers (65.2 percent).

Money seems to have nothing to do with the decision, since the wealthier a mother is the more likely she is to breastfeed. For example, 83 percent of those earning 400 percent of the federal poverty level breastfed, while only 65.7 percent of those with incomes at the federal poverty level did so.

New Jersey’s 77.2 percent is higher than the 75.3 percent nationwide rate. The region with the highest rate of breastfeeding, 89 percent, was the northwest United States and Alaska. The lowest rate, 69.3 percent, could be found in the southeastern part of the country.