milkmakers wholeheartedly applauds First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks in support of breastfeeding
March 2011 (Seattle, WA) – First Lady Michelle Obama is passionate about solving the rampant problem of childhood obesity. Her Let’s Move! initiative is dedicated to helping children and their families be able to make healthy choices during the children’s earliest years. At a recent roundtable discussion with reporters, Mrs. Obama remarked that she wants to make it easier for mothers to breastfeed their babies to help prevent childhood obesity and push more hospitals to be certified as “Baby Friendly” by Baby Friendly USA, a non-governmental organization that works with UNICEF and the World Health Organization to increase breastfeeding rates by working with hospitals to give mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.
As referenced in the May 2010 Report to the President from the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, children who were breastfeed as infants have a significantly lower rate of childhood obesity, a difference that carries well into adolescence. In addition, in January 2011 U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin released a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding” which outlines steps that health care systems, organizations, and communities can take to support women who want to breastfeed and remove the obstacles many of these women face.
“It’s encouraging to see the First Lady of the United States tackling the terrifying epidemic of childhood obesity head-on,” says Emily Kane, founder and owner of milkmakers. “I’m beyond excited that, as a society, we’re finally having the conversation about how breastfeeding can be a part of the solution.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of U.S. babies start out breastfeeding, but only 13 percent are still exclusively breastfed at six months old. The rates are particularly low among African-American infants. The World Health Organization recommends babies be given breastmilk exclusively for the first six months of life. According to Dr. Benjamin’s “Call to Action,” breastfeeding helps protect babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, vomiting, ear infections, pneumonia, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop asthma, and those who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese. Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President is available online at http://www.letsmove.gov/organize-school-health-team. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding is available at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/. More information about Baby Friendly USA and the “Baby Friendly” designation can be found at http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/.
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