|Labbok stresses importance of breastfeeding in United Nations Radio report|
|June 25, 2007|
Giving mother's milk to infants within the first hour of life protects them against hypothermia and initiates a biological flow that leads to successful, exclusive breastfeeding for the next six months--a practice that can help save millions of lives, said Miriam H. Labbok, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Infant and Young Child Feeding and Care and professor of the practice of public health at the School of Public Health, during an interview broadcast June 21 on United Nations (UN) Radio.
In a report by UN Radio's Gail
Walker, Labbok said that exclusive breastfeeding is so vital to normal
development that it could the save the lives of 1.3 million children per year.
"We're not talking about a one-time pill. We're talking about a woman totally
changing her behavior for six months, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in
order to breastfeed that child exclusively," she said.
Children who are not breastfed
immediately after they are born and exclusively for six months after, and do
not receive continued breastfeeding and age-appropriate complementary feeding
for up to two years or longer, are more likely to suffer from certain
infections, cancers and chronic diseases, said Labbok. In developing countries,
they are also six to 14 times more likely to die.
UN Radio's report coincided with the 5th anniversary of the World Health Organization's (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF) Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding, as well as with preparations for World Breastfeeding Week, an outreach vehicle for the breastfeeding movement celebrated every August in more than 120 countries.
A longer version of Labbok's interview will be aired later this week on "Women," a UN Radio program that features issues affecting women around the world. Both reports may be accessed at UN Radio's website.
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|Last updated June 25, 2007|