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Department Of Health Observes World Breast-Feeding Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, July 27, 2012
Shelby Sampson, (605) 394-2495 


Department Of Health Observes World Breast-Feeding Week


PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota will join the rest of the nation and more than 170 countries around the globe in celebrating the 20th Annual World Breast-feeding Week Aug. 1-7.


The annual observance commemorates the August 1990 Innocenti Declaration made by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund to protect, promote, and support breast-feeding to improve the health of babies around the world.


“This year’s theme is The Road to Lifelong Health Begins with Breast-feeding, and it’s a good reminder that breast-feeding is the ideal method of infant feeding,“ said Rhonda Buntrock, director of the Department of Health’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. “The WIC program fully supports the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation for exclusive breast-feeding for the first 6 months of life and continuing to breast-feed for a year or more while solid foods are introduced.”


The benefits of breast-feeding for infants include reduced risk of diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, asthma, allergies, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), adolescent and adult obesity, and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The longer a child is breast-fed exclusively, the greater the benefits. 


South Dakota has not yet met any of the Healthy People 2020 goals related to breast-feeding. These goals include increased initiation, exclusivity, and duration of breast-feeding, as well as supportive practices, such as percentage of employers offering lactation support programs.


In acknowledgement of the importance of breast-feeding as a public health issue, Governor Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed August 1-7 World Breast-feeding Week in South Dakota.


To learn more about breast-feeding, contact one of the department’s local community health services offices listed at http://doh.sd.gov/LocalOffices or visit its www.bestfeeding.org website.  


Improving the health of infants and children is a key goal of the department’s Health 2020 initiative.