Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Breastfeeding and the Big Sort

So, I just finished reading The Big Sort, a book which I heartily recommend to everyone. I would describe it as the Freakonomics of political science. In essence, it is a description of how people in America are dividing themselves geographically based on political beliefs. Of course, it does go a bit beyond that, and I've even found some bits that fit into my own dissertation (which is actually quite remarkable, considering how qualitative my dissertation is).

Then, today, there was this article on breastfeeding from the (I kid you not) Journal of Human Lactation. Reminds me of a joke:

"What kind of doctor is your father?"
"He's a naval doctor."
"Oh, how they specialize these days"

(the funniest part of that joke is that my father is, indeed, a naval doctor...)

Back to my point, however, at the end of the article, "Many personal characteristics, such as a mother's age and education level, influence whether a baby is breastfed. Surprisingly, the new study found that where babies live also plays a role. 'We are finding that breastfeeding rates aren't just explained by the individuals who live in these areas, there's something about the areas themselves and breastfeeding,' said BYU co-author John Hoffmann." Too bad Mr. Hoffman didn't read Big Sort, because it certainly goes a long way to explain the hidden variable of geographic and ideologic connections with breastfeeding.

2 comments:

Jenn said...

Okay John, I have to ask. Why were you reading a breastfeeding journal article???

Iraqi Bootleg said...

In all honesty, I don't know why I do half the things I do (witness - voluntary trips to Iraq...)