259976 Life-time burden and costs of not breastfeeding in the US

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 10:35 AM - 10:50 AM

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
Background: Breastfeeding intervention could save up to 15% of the preventable child deaths worldwide. A study carried out in Brazil concluded that increases in exclusive breastfeeding could reduce the burden of disease for approximately $2 to $4 per DALY. However, in the US both the cost of supporting breastfeeding and the cost of treating the diseases that result from lack of optimal feeding are higher. This study builds on earlier work and examines the costs, benefits, effectiveness and DALYs saved if exclusive breastfeeding were fully supported in the US. Methods: Available data on breastfeeding rates and excess disease risk associated with less than optimal feeding are used to calculate disease burden. Standard CEA and CBA approaches used. DALYs are calculated for specific causes of death (e.g., NEC, pneumonia, SIDS) and adjusted to reflect current exclusive breastfeeding rates to assess possible reductions. Cost estimates will include cost of providing breastfeeding support as well as the reduced costs of treatment of the excess cases of specific diseases (e.g., diabetes, specific cancers). Findings: We expect that the ongoing update of the previous study will find increased impact: the preliminary finding is a potential savings due to reduced treatment expense of $1.50 to $2.00 for every dollar invested in breastfeeding support in maternity care and counseling, and some paid maternity leave. Discussion: It is important to translate these projected savings into policy and program change at the national level. Conclusions: It would be very cost beneficial for the US to fully support breastfeeding.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the differences between CEA, CBA and DALYs Discuss the impact of not breastfeeding on national health

Keywords: Healthcare Costs, Breastfeeding

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have carried out and published similar analysis in the past and direct an institute dedicated to the understanding and support for breastfeeding.
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.