184584 Breastfeeding without borders: The APHA position

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 3:10 PM

Melissa C. Bartick, MD, MS , Department of Medicine, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA
Miriam Labbok, MD, MPH, FACPM, IBCLC, FABM , Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute, Department of Maternal Child Health, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Lissa Ong, MPH, RD , USDA, San Francisco, CA
Effective 2008, APHA has a new position statement on breastfeeding, its first overarching position statement on the topic since 1982. While calling attention to past APHA statements related to breastfeeding, the new statement also puts breastfeeding into a global perspective in many ways. It reviews the evidence showing the risks of early weaning even in industrialized countries, as well as the excess deaths worldwide caused by lack of exclusive breastfeeding. Lack of breastfeeding is shown to be a significant global health problem, contributing to the global burden of disease. The new policy highlights the shortcomings of policies related to breastfeeding in the United States, compared to other industrialized countries. The policy endorses several international documents, including the WHO Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding, as well as the Innocenti Declarations of 1990 and 2005, and the WHO/UNICEF Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative. Global policy issues include need for paid maternity leave, curbing the aggressive marketing of infant formula, the need for legislation to protect and support breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding to prevent the transmission of HIV, the need for consistent definitions of breastfeeding in the scientific literature, and the need to protect pregnant and lactating women from persistent organic pollutants. Conclusion: APHA's new breastfeeding policy statement puts breastfeeding into a global perspective, and highlights how much work needs to be done in the US to meet the standards of some other countries.

Learning Objectives:
Describe APHA's new position statement on breastfeeding Explore the global health implications of the new position statement Recognize how US breastfeeding policies fall short, compared to other countries.

Keywords: Breast Feeding, Politics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was lead author on the policy statement described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.