Breastfeeding in Reducing Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality
Amarillo, Texas (PRWEB) February 21, 2013
In 2000, 189 heads of state issued the UN Millennium Declaration and established eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). One of the most important goals is MDG 4:Reduce child mortality. According to the World Health Organization, infant and young child feeding is a key area to improve child survival. “In fact, optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices are so critical that they can save the lives of 1.5 million children under five every year.” (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs342/en/index.html)
This is not just an issue for the developing world. The U.S. now ranks 41st in the world in infant mortality. Much of our low ranking can be attributed to our high rates of infant mortality in African American babies; more than double the rate of whites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the infant mortality rate for African Americans is 12.40 per 1,000 infants, while the rate for Whites was 5.33 per 1,000. (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm6205.pdf)
Some of the racial/ethnic disparity can be attributed to lower rates of breastfeeding for African Americans. In a recent report, the rates of breastfeeding initiation rates for Blacks was 59%, compared to 75% for whites. The initiation rate for African Americans actually reflects a substantial improvement over the previous rate of 47%, according to a recent CDC report. The CDC concluded that the increased breastfeeding rate among African Americans lowered the rate of infant mortality. Nevertheless, the breastfeeding initiation rate for African Americans was lower than that of other groups including Whites (75%) and Hispanics (80%). The CDC recommended targeted interventions for improving breastfeeding rates among African Americans.
The One Every 21 Seconds campaign is designed to increase awareness about racial/ethnic disparities in infant mortality in the U.S., and breastfeeding’s role in prevention infant death. Free reports and handouts are available at http://www.PraeclarusPress.com.
Praeclarus Press is a small press focusing on lactation, maternal/child health, and women’s health.
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