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PIA Press Release
2008/08/14

Exclusive breastfeeding pushed by gov't

by Jemin B. Guillermo

Roxas City (14 August) -- The government bats for exclusive breastfeeding to trim down the risk of malnutrition and other illnesses.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III pointed out that a child who is breastfed is a sure winner because he will have lower risk of malnutrition, diabetes, obesity, and cancer later in life, and will have 5-9 points higher intelligence quotient (IQ) than formula-fed babies.

Duque added that breastmilk contains colostrum, which is rich in antibodies, that provides protection against diarrhea, pneumonia, neonatal sepsis and improves a child's IQ.

The 2003 Lancet disclosed that the Philippines is one of 42 countries worldwide accounting for 90% of under-five year old deaths, with 82,000 Filipino children dying before reaching their 5th birthday.

The reduction of mortality by two-thirds in the under-five years group is the country's 4th Millennium Development Goal, Duque said.

He explained that an estimated 10,000 deaths could be prevented through improved breastfeeding alone, and that 16,000 deaths could be prevented through both exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and appropriate complimentary feeding starting six months of age.

According to him, by increasing breastfeeding rates to 80% in the next 10 years, under-five mortality will be reduced to less than 29 per 1000 live births.

Meanwhile, some 80.14 percent or 10,239 of the 12,777 infants seen in Capiz were exclusively breastfeed in 2007, data from the province Knowledge Center show.

On the other hand, Duque revealed that breastfeeding is not only beneficial to babies but also to mothers.

He said that mothers are also winners in breastfeeding as studies show that breastfeeding reduce bleeding after delivery, reduces cancer of the breast and ovaries, and acts as a natural family planning method as it delays return to fertility. (PIA) [top]

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