Breastfeeding Status and its Influence on Native American Women’s Food Preferences

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Introduction: To evaluate if breastfeeding alters Native American women’s food preferences, recently postpartum women were offered food interest surveys during their 6-week postpartum checkup at W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital in Tahlequah, OK (a Native American serving health facility owned by the Cherokee Nation of OK).

Methods: Surveys were offered at check-in, and no identifying information (name, age, race, SSN) or protected health information was collected. Women were asked whether they were breastfeeding, number of infants delivered, and if this was their first baby. Level of hunger was rated on a Likert scale that ranged from 1 (not hungry at all) to 9 (very hungry), with 5 indicating “don’t care.”

Results: Overall, breastfeeding women indicated increased hunger ratings over non-breastfeeding women. Next, the rate of interest in eating specific foods from 6 different taste categories (salty, sweet, meaty, bitter, sour, and hot) was determined. There were no striking differences in eating foods in particular taste categories, except for sweet foods. In the sweet group, there was a greater interest in eating chocolate bars and cookies in the breastfeeding women.

Conclusions: These findings represent the potential impact of breastfeeding on the interest in eating certain foods by Native American women and how breastfeeding status may guide food preferences, thus altering food choices. We found that Native American women in the breastfeeding group indicated a higher interest in eating foods of the sweet category in comparison to the nonbreastfeeding Native American mothers. These choices may have implications for postpartum weight loss as well as for childhood disease processes such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, and other nutrition related diseases as maternal food choices influence family meals and the overall health of her children.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 18 Feb 2022
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2022 : Poster Presentation - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 14 Feb 202218 Feb 2022


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Week 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • breastfeeding
  • food choices
  • taste preferences
  • Native American women


Dive into the research topics of 'Breastfeeding Status and its Influence on Native American Women’s Food Preferences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this