Low levels of breastfeeding putting children at risk

June 30, 2004

Children in developing countries are being put at unnecessary risk of disease and death as they are fed on alternatives to breast milk. According to a study published in BMC Medicine today, the amount of breastfeeding taking place falls a long way short of recommended levels.

In 2001 the World Health Organization (WHO) passed a resolution recommending that infants under six months of age were fed exclusively on breast milk, in part to protect them from malnutrition, pneumonia and waterborne diseases. Yet only two in five infants this age from developing countries are fed only on breast milk, and more than five percent of them are not breastfed at all.

In Africa only a quarter of infants under six months of age are fed exclusively on breast milk.

The study's authors write: "The size of the gap between breastfeeding practice and recommendations is striking. More attention should be given to increasing breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, and to monitoring breastfeeding trends."

The group of WHO researchers, led by Jeremy Lauer, examined a large number of studies about breastfeeding rates. These nationally representative surveys covered 94 developing countries.

Their research revealed that although mothers are advised to continue breastfeeding their children up until they are two years old, on average 14% of children aged 6-11 months and 32% of children aged 12-23 months are not given any breast milk.

The rates of continued breastfeeding are particularly low in South America and the Caribbean with only 37% of children over one year old being fed at least some breast milk.

The situation is probably worse that this study concludes, as the original surveys may well have overestimated the number of children that are exclusively breastfed.
-end-
This press release is based on the following article:

Breast feeding patterns and exposure to suboptimal breastfeeding among children in developing countries: review and analysis of nationally representative surveys Jeremy A Lauer, Ana Pilar Betrán, Cesar G Victora, Mercedes de Onís, Aluísio J D Barros BMC Medicine 2004, 2:26

Upon publication this article will be freely available according to BMC Medicine's Open Access policy at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/2/26.

Please quote the journal in any stories that you write, and link to the article if you are writing for the web.

For further information, please contact the lead author Jeremy Lauer by email on lauerj@who.int or by phone on 41-22-791-2467.

Alternatively, or for more information about the journal or Open Access publishing, contact Gemma Bradley by phone on 44-0-20-7631-9931 or by email at press@biomedcentral.com.

BMC Medicine (http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmed/) publishes original research articles, technical advances and study protocols in any area of medical science or clinical practice. To be appropriate for BMC Medicine, articles need to be of special importance and broad interest.

BMC Medicine is published by BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com), an independent online publishing house committed to providing Open Access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research. This commitment is based on the view that immediate free access to research and the ability to freely archive and reuse published information is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science. BioMed Central currently publishes over 100 journals across biology and medicine. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews, commentaries and other non-original-research content. Depending on the policies of the individual journal, this content may be open access or provided only to subscribers.

BioMed Central

Related Breast Milk Articles from Brightsurf:

The "gold" in breast milk
Breast milk strengthens a child's immune system, supporting the intestinal flora.

Is COVID-19 transmitted through breast milk? Study suggests not likely
A recent study by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggests transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk is not likely.

Mom and baby share 'good bacteria' through breast milk
A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba has found that bacteria are shared and possibly transferred from a mother's milk to her infant's gut, and that breastfeeding directly at the breast best supports this process.

Pasteurizing breast milk inactivates SARS-CoV-2
Pasteurizing breast milk using a common technique inactivates severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) making it safe for use, according to new research in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). ttps://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/early/2020/07/09/cmaj.201309.full.pdf

Breast milk may help prevent sepsis in preemies
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have found -- in newborn mice -- that a component of breast milk may help protect premature babies from developing life-threatening sepsis.

New study associates intake of dairy milk with greater risk of breast cancer
Intake of dairy milk is associated with a greater risk of breast cancer in women -- up to 80% depending on the amount consumed -- according to a new study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University Health.

Study: Difference in breast milk concentrations impacts growth up to age 5
In a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine confirmed the findings of previous pilot studies that found an association between human milk concentrations and infant weight and body composition.

Component of human breast milk enhances cognitive development in babies
CHLA investigators show that early exposure to a carbohydrate found in breast milk, called 2'FL, positively influences neurodevelopment.

Photoinitiators detected in human breast milk
Photoinitators (PIs) are compounds used in the ink of many types of food packaging.

Informal sharing of breast milk gains popularity among women, despite safety risks
Women who are unable to produce enough breast milk for their children are increasingly turning to 'mother-to-mother' informal milk-sharing, a potentially unsafe practice that is discouraged by the pediatric medical community, according to new research being presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2019 National Conference & Exhibition.

Read More: Breast Milk News and Breast Milk Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.