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CDC: More Babies Being Breastfed

In 2007, the government met its Healthy People 2010 breastfeeding goal; the CDC reports that in that year, 75% of newborn babies were breastfed.

Follow-up breastfeeding goals, however, fell short at 6 and 12 months; the percentage of babies who were breastfed at 6 months was 43%, compared to the government’s goal of 50%.  By one year, 22% of babies were being breastfed, compared with the objective of 25%.

Additionally, the report states that rates varied widely among the states; the highest breastfeeding rates were in the west.  USA Today reports that 90% of babies born in Utah in 2007 were breastfed, compared to 53% in Mississippi. 

There are many documented benefits to breastfeeding for both babies and their mothers.  Babies who are breastfed have a reduced risk of ear and respiratory infections and type 2 diabetes.  The rate of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is also less among breastfed infants.

Mothers who nurse their babies lower their risk of ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer.
Interestingly, there’s another bonus to babies who are breastfed, and that is a lowered risk for childhood obesity.  This is no small matter, especially since CNN reported last year that 1 in 5 preschoolers are overweight.

In a meta-analysis funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published by the agency in 2007, for each month a child is breastfed up to 9 months old, the rate of pediatric obesity is reduced by 4%.  Put another way, a child who is breastfed for 9 months has a 30% lower risk of childhood obesity compared to those who have never been breastfed.

Additionally, the study revealed that babies who are breastfed exclusively reduce their risk of overweight by 6%.
The bottom line:  the longer a baby is breastfed either exclusively or in tandem with bottle feeding, the lower the risk of pediatric overweight and obesity.