2012 World Breastfeeding Week: Road to lifelong healthWhile malnutrition plagues numerous developing countries, rates of obesity are at an all-time high in many developed countries, with the highest prevalence in the U.S. and Mexico.
The following was contributed by Douglas County Public Health
While malnutrition plagues numerous developing countries, rates of obesity are at an all-time high in many developed countries, with the highest prevalence in the U.S. and Mexico.
The health and nutritional status of mothers and infants are directly linked, making appropriate infant feeding a critical first step in preventing a variety of medical conditions.
“Poor feeding practices can lead to malnutrition and obesity, and contribute to an overall decline in the health and welfare of the population,” said Cathy Carothers, president of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA).
Research shows that infants who are not exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months of life are also more likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory illnesses.
In addition, mothers who do not breastfeed are at an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, jointly developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), serves as a roadmap toward a renewed commitment to exclusive breastfeeding beginning in the first hour of birth to achieve optimal health outcomes.
The Global Strategy is celebrating 10 years of guiding infant feeding in 2012. In honor of that anniversary, the topic of World Breastfeeding Week 2012 (August 1-7, October 1-7) is “Understanding the Past – Planning the Future: Celebrating 10 years of WHO/UNICEF’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child
Building on the concept that the Global Strategy serves as a roadmap for actions to protect, promote and support breastfeeding to achieve maximum health benefits, World Breastfeeding Week is being celebrated with the ILCA theme “The road to lifelong health begins with breastfeeding.”
Douglas County Public Health is the local breastfeeding support center. The team consists of public health nurses and WIC dietitians who have specialized in lactation training. They are able to provide professional services to families with breastfeeding questions and challenges during pregnancy and at any time during the breastfeeding experience.
Services are available at home, by phone, or at the Douglas County Public Health office. Contact public health at (320) 763-6018 or WIC at (320) 763-7805 for questions.
For more information about World Breastfeeding Week, visit the ILCA website at www.ILCA.org.