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Breastfeeding interferred with by marketing of infant formula according to GAO

The Governmental Accounting Office issued an interesting report on February 8,2006 on breastfeeding and how marketing of infant formula interfers with the achievement of the public health goals of Healthy People 2010.

Millions of U.S. mothers and infants each year forgo the health benefits of breastfeeding and rely on infant formula. Infants who are breastfed are less likely to develop infectious diseases and chronic health problems, such as diabetes and asthma, while breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop certain types of cancer. Recognizing the health benefits of breastfeeding for infants and mothers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010 campaign has recommended that more U.S. infants be breastfed and that babies be breastfed for longer periods of time. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. would save a minimum of $3.6 billion in health care costs and indirect costs, such as parents’ lost wages, if breastfeeding increased to meet these Healthy People goals. Breastfeeding rates are particularly low among infants who participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

To view and/or download a copy of the report in PDF click here.

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