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Posted July 29, 2016


World Breastfeeding Week August 1 - 7, 2016: A Key to Sustainable Development

The World Breastfeeding Week 2016 theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our well-being from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.

In September 2015, the world's leaders committed to 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity. Together, they form the Sustainable Development Goals. We all have a part to play in achieving these goals by 2030.

Do you care about people, the planet, prosperity and peace? Join the many who believe in sustainable development – people who currently live in a way that does not harm the generations to come. This year’s World Breastfeeding Week focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that governments around the world have agreed to achieve by 2030. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and cover a range of issues on ecology, economy and equity. The new SDGs aspire to tackle the root causes of poverty and offer a vision of development that works for all people, everywhere. World Breastfeeding Week 2016 marks a new start for us to work together and show how we can achieve sustainable development through the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

Why is this Important?

New evidence presented in the UK medical journal, the Lancet, confirms that optimal breastfeeding could save 823,000 child lives and add $302 billion to the global economy annually. Breastfeeding lays the foundation for good health for all children both in the short and long term, and also benefits mothers. However, global breastfeeding rates have remained stagnant for the past two decades. Less than 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. In actual fact, women face many barriers to breastfeeding. They may receive inaccurate information from health providers, lack lactation support from male partners within the household, have no access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, face aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes or be forced to return to work soon after giving birth. These barriers make it exceedingly difficult for women to breastfeed exclusively for six months (with no additional liquids or food) and to continue breastfeeding for two years or longer, as recommended by the World Health Organization. We know what needs to be done to support and enable mothers to breastfeed optimally, but we need to be more proactive and engage more people to make this a reality. Linking breastfeeding with the SDGs helps us to do this.

Facts and Figures


  • Undernutrition, including sub-optimal breastfeeding, underlies 45% of all deaths of children under 5 annually.

  • The most prevalent form of malnutrition, nutritional stunting (low height for age), is already prevalent at birth and continues to increase sharply until 24 months of age. This window of opportunity for reducing stunting is the 1000 days from conception until 2 years of age.

  • Early investments in prevention of low birth weight, prevention of stunting, and early initiation of and exclusive breastfeeding, contribute to reducing the risk of later obesity and chronic diseases.

  • Not breastfeeding is associated with economic losses of about $302 billion annually.

  • Families worldwide spend an estimated $54 billion annually purchasing milk formula.

  • Adults who were breastfed as children were found to have higher incomes than those who were not breastfed.

Click here for more information, facts, figures and plans of action for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week.

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or already have young children, call Randolph Health  Pediatrics today at 336-625-2467 to make an appointment with one of our Providers. Click here to visit our Practice Webpage for more information.

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