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  • Epidemiology 09/2005; 16(5). DOI:10.1097/00001648-200509000-00336 · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In New Zealand, the Pacific population (those resident with a Pacific Islands heritage) is one of the fastest growing population subgroups and on census night, 7 March 2006, numbered 265 974 usual residents or 6.6% of the total population.1 Auckland is the preferred region of domicile.2 Samoans constitute the largest group (50%), followed by Cook Island Maori (23%), Tongan (18%), Niuean (9%), Fijian (3%), Tokelauan (3%) and Tuvalu Islanders (1%).2 This ethnic diversity is manifest in differing cultures, languages, and differential access to and utilization of education, health and social services. Pacific people are over-represented in many adverse health and social statistics2–4 leading to higher rates of communicable and non-communicable disease,2,4,5 hospitalization3,4,6 and death.2 Yet, prior to this study, there was relatively little culturally specific information on which to base efficacious coordinated public health interventions for this ethnic group.7 The Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study, a birth cohort study, was developed through a process of collaboration with Pacific communities, researchers, and relevant health and social agencies to provide this much needed information. At inception, the PIF study had two directors, Dr Janis Paterson and Dr Colin Tukuitonga, a number of Pacific and non-Pacific investigators, and a team of Pacific field staff. An independent Pacific People's Advisory Board, composed of community representatives, was established to guide the directors and the management team in the scientific and cultural directions of the research. The Plunket Society (a not-for-profit society with clinical staff and volunteer network, and the largest provider of services to support the health and development of children under five8) also worked closely with the PIF research team. Grants were awarded from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) in 1998 and the Health Research Council (HRC) in 1999 to undertake a pilot study that enabled instruments, recruitment and interview procedures to be tested and refined. The main study commenced in 2000 and has been principally funded from FRST, with supplementary studies funded by multiple national and regional agencies. To date, the study has received approximately NZD$4.42 million in funding.
    International Journal of Epidemiology 05/2008; 37(2):273-9. DOI:10.1093/ije/dym171 · 9.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several studies have suggested that breastfeeding has a long-term influence on brain development. However, interpretation of these findings is complicated by the presence of many potential confounding factors. Only a few studies have examined infants before 1 y of age, although very early assessment might reduce the role of environmental influence. We investigated the association between exclusive breastfeeding and three developmental milestones related to general and fine motor skills and early language development at the age of 8 mo. We followed 1656 healthy, singleton, term infants, with a birthweight of at least 2500 g, born between May 1991 and February 1992 in Aarhus, Denmark. Information was collected at 16 wk gestation, at delivery and when the infant was 8 mo old. Motor skills were evaluated by measurement of crawling and pincer grip. Early language development was defined as the ability to babble in polysyllables. The proportion of infants who mastered the specific milestones increased consistently with increasing duration of breastfeeding. The relative risk for the highest versus the lowest breastfeeding category was 1.3 (95% CI: 1.0-1.6) for crawling, 1.2 (95% CI: 1.1-1.3) for pincer grip and 1.5 (95% Cl: 1.3-1.8) for polysyllable babbling. Little change was found after adjustment for confounding. In conclusion, our data support the hypothesis that breastfeeding benefits neurodevelopment.
    Acta Paediatrica 01/2000; 88(12):1327-32. DOI:10.1080/080352599750030022 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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