Experience Implementing a Public Health Surveillance System Designed for Fathers of Infants on a South Dakota American Indian Reservation
Introduction: Paternal behaviors and attitudes during pregnancy are not known. A health survey for fathers of recently born infants was developed to be administered concurrently with a maternal survey to assess parental behaviors and attitudes before, during and after pregnancy.
Methods: Participants were parents of 149 American Indian infants born from April 1 and Dec. 31, 2015 who were recruited prospectively from data of all births in prespecified reservation counties representing Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation. Data collection was via hard-copy or online survey. Results: Response rate among mothers was 62 percent (n=92). Of 149 births, 126 listed a father on the birth certificate and 51 percent (n=64) of these completed surveys on average 4.7 months post-birth. Healthwise, 90 percent of fathers reported being overweight or obese, but a small percent visited a health care worker in the previous year to be checked for diabetes (11 percent) or hypertension (14 percent). Among fathers who smoked in the last two years (73 percent), 77 percent of the mothers also smoked compared to 20 percent of mothers smoking if the father did not smoke (pConclusion: Conducting a health survey with both fathers and mothers in a reservation setting is feasible and the father’s attitudes and behaviors related to breastfeeding and smoking were associated with maternal health behaviors. Most fathers attended health care visits with the mother, but they were not being screened for health conditions despite a large proportion being overweight and smokers. Prenatal and antenatal visits may provide an opportune time to engage fathers and address paternal health issues.
South Dakota Medicine
South Dakota State Medical Association
DeCoteau S, Minett M, Binkley T, Beare T, Specker B. Experience implementing a public health surveillance system designed for fathers of infants on a South Dakota American Indian reservation. South Dakota Medicine 75(7):304-311, 2022