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Human Milk Composition and Dietary Intakes of Breastfeeding Women of Different Ethnicity from the Manawatu-Wanganui Region of New Zealand

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      Human milk is nutrient rich, complex in its composition, and is key to a baby’s health through its role in nutrition, gastrointestinal tract and immune development. Seventy-eight mothers (19–42 years of age) of Asian, Māori, Pacific Island, or of European ethnicity living in Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand (NZ) completed the study. The women provided three breast milk samples over a one-week period (6–8 weeks postpartum), completed a three-day food diary and provided information regarding their pregnancy and lactation experiences. The breast milk samples were analyzed for protein, fat, fatty acid profile, ash, selected minerals (calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc), and carbohydrates. Breast milk nutrient profiles showed no significant differences between the mothers of different ethnicities in their macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate, and moisture) content. The breast milk of Asian mothers contained significantly higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 ( n-3) and omega-6 ( n-6) fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and linoleic acids. Arachidonic acid was significantly lower in the breast milk of Māori and Pacific Island women. Dietary intakes of protein, total energy, saturated and polyunsaturated fat, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iodine, vitamin A equivalents, and folate differed between the ethnic groups, as well as the number of serves of dairy foods, chicken, and legumes. No strong correlations between dietary nutrients and breast milk components were found.

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            Author and article information

            [1 ]The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Private Bag 11600, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand; duncan.hedderley@ (D.I.H.); hmth4@ (T.D.H.); pramod.gopal@ (P.G.)
            [2 ]The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Private Bag 92169, Auckland 1142, New Zealand; gunaranjan.paturi@
            [3 ]Danone Nutricia NZ Limited, 56-58 Aintree Avenue, Mangere, Auckland 2022, New Zealand; sarah.glyn-jones@
            [4 ]Danone Nutricia Research, Upsalalaan 12, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands; frank.wiens@ (F.W.); bernd.stahl@ (B.S.)
            [5 ]Riddet Institute, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
            Author notes
            [* ]Correspondence: chrissie.butts@ ; Tel.: +64-6-355-6147
            04 September 2018
            September 2018
            : 10
            : 9
            30181524 6164561 10.3390/nu10091231 nutrients-10-01231
            © 2018 by the authors.

            Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


            Nutrition & Dietetics

            breastfeeding, human milk, ethnicity, composition, diet


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