Online Program

Improving breastfeeding awareness through a coordinated school health education initiative

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Debra Glaser, EdD, Department of Health and Physical Education, York College of the City University of New York, Jamaica, NY
Katherine J. Roberts, EdD, MPH, MCHES, Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
It is well established that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding provides a plethora of significant benefits. Formula-feeding and low breastfeeding rates add to considerable excess costs, environmental waste and preventable infant deaths each year. Increasing breastfeeding rates is an effective approach to improve child health, reduce infant mortality, decrease chronic illnesses, and diminish rising health care costs. Health promotion programs that help establish breastfeeding as a normative infant feeding practice are needed. Sequential and progressive coordinated school health (CSH) education is one way to accomplish this goal, including incorporating breastfeeding education as part of an elementary level curriculum. The presenters will discuss the development and planned evaluation of an innovative CSH initiative including the implementation of a 3rd/4th grade level curriculum on human lactation and breastfeeding that includes a parenting component, health promotion for school staff, and community involvement. The curriculum is designed to be taught by elementary school teachers and incorporated in to various subjects such as math, science, social studies, and health. This initiative is aimed at improving knowledge, attitudes, future intentions, social acceptance and community-based support for breastfeeding. Researchers plan to implement and evaluate this initiative in urban public schools within areas of New York City that report low breastfeeding rates. Implementation of such an initiative may be an effective and cost efficient intervention to improve breastfeeding exclusivity and duration as well as increase community-based support for breastfeeding.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the health, financial, and environmental benefits of exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding. Explain how insufficient knowledge, social acceptance, and support of breastfeeding contributes to low breastfeeding rates. Discuss the potential of breastfeeding education within a Coordinated School Health program to improve social acceptance and community support for breastfeeding. Justify the need for Breastfeeding education within a coordinated school health program to improve breastfeeding rates.

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been an Assistant Professor of Health Education and Coordinator of the School Health K-12 Program at York College for over 5 years. Through this role, I have gained extensive experience in curriculum development, management, and evaluation. My research interests include, the development of interventions to improve children's health and well-being through preventive measures in schools. Currently my focus lies in identifying and evaluating effective strategies to improve breastfeeding success and acceptance.
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.