New public health goals tackle obstacles to breastfeeding success

December 3, 2010

For the first time, the barriers to breastfeeding are being addressed at the highest level of government. With the release today of Healthy People 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has targeted the new 10-year goals for our nation's health - and supporting breastfeeding is prominent among them.

"This is a major step forward for and babies," says Gerald Calnen, MD, President of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. For decades, we've been telling mothers to try harder. With the Healthy People 2020 goals, we are actually helping mothers to succeed."

The new public health targets, released today, address maternity care and workplace accommodations for nursing mothers, two major stumbling blocks for breastfeeding mothers and babies.

A recent CDC survey found that maternity centers earned an average grade of 65% for infant feeding care, and just 3.8% of U.S. births occur in facilities that have earned Baby Friendly Certification. Baby Friendly facilities meet standards set by UNICEF and the for high-quality breastfeeding care.

By 2020, the goals call for increasing the percentage of Baby Friendly Hospitals to 8% and for increasing the proportion of U.S. workplaces that accommodate working mothers to express milk or breastfeed their infants during the workday from 25% to 38%.

The goals also target formula supplementation of healthy during the maternity hospital stay. In 2006, 26% of healthy breastfed were fed formula in the hospital. The goals aim to cut this rate to 15% by 2020.

In addition, the Healthy People 2020 goals set targets for initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. Currently, 75% of babies born in the U.S. are initially breastfed, but rates fall to 43% at 6 months and 22% by 12 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be fed only breastmilk for the first 6 months of life, but only 13% of babies in the U.S. meet this breastfeeding standard.

Healthy People 2020 aims to increase rates to 82% ever-breastfed, 61% at 6 months, and 34% at 1 year. Exclusive goals are set for 44% at 3 months and 24% at 6 months.

"By making maternity care and workplace support part of the Healthy People 2020 goals, policymakers are recognizing what mothers already know," Dr. Calnen says. "We need to change the system so that hospitals, employers, and the general public work together to empower mothers to achieve the best goals."

More information: www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/12/20101202a.html

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Exercise can make cells healthier, promoting longer life, study finds

September 22, 2017
Whether it's running, walking, cycling, swimming or rowing, it's been well-known since ancient times that doing some form of aerobic exercise is essential to good health and well-being. You can lose weight, sleep better, ...

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.