Breastfeeding from birth to six months or a year can reduce deaths among children under five by 13 percent, a fact UNICEF is highlighting during World Breastfeeding Week, which runs through August 7, the International Business Times reports (DeNinno, 8/2).
According to a UNICEF news story, "exclusive breastfeeding of infants and young children could save many lives - because breastmilk is the most complete food available, containing all the nutrients, energy and antibodies that babies need to fight infections" (Green, 8/2). Other benefits of breastfeeding include reductions in stunted growth among children and mothers' risks of "postpartum hemorrhage, anemia, maternal iron depletion, breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes," according to UNICEF, IBT notes. According to the agency, 36 percent of children are breastfed in developing countries (8/2).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.