Recruitment of lactating women into a randomized dietary intervention: Successful strategies and factors promoting enrollment and retention

Nicole R. Stendell-Hollis, Monica J. Laudermilk, Julie L. West, Patricia A. Thompson, Cynthia A. Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction: Recruitment and retention of lactating women require unique strategies to prevent high attrition. The purpose of this report is to identify successful recruitment strategies and evaluate demographic and lifestyle characteristics associated with study completion. Methods: A randomized, controlled trial was initiated to test the hypothesis that lactating women adhering to a Mediterranean diet will show a significant reduction in anthropometric measurements as compared to lactating women randomized to the USDA's MyPyramid diet for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding (control diet). Measurements were collected at baseline, 2. months, and 4. months. Recruitment methods and baseline characteristics of completers and non-completers are described. Results: The largest percentage of women, 24.8%, were recruited from a local parenting magazine, 20.9% from Craig's List, 20.2% from local hospitals, and 34.1% from various other sources. At baseline, women (n=129) were mostly Non-Hispanic (75.2%), average age 29.7years, BMI averaged 27.2kg/m2, waist:hip ratio 0.84cm (SD: 0.07), and body fat averaged 30.8%. Approximately 72% were exclusively breastfeeding, a mean 17.5weeks postpartum, and 69.0% had a college degree. Non-completers were more likely to have supplemented with formula at baseline as compared to completers (P<0.001). No other characteristics were significantly associated with attrition. Conclusion: Researchers conducting studies with lactating women may consider "exclusive breastfeeding" as a study inclusion criterion to prevent high attrition rates or include additional breastfeeding support to study participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-511
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Attrition
  • Lactation
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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