Surgeon general speaks out in support of breast-feeding

WASHINGTON — The surgeon general on Monday issued a release promoting breast-feeding in support of World Breast-feeding Week, Aug. 1 through 7.

"One of the most highly effective preventive measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant and herself is to breast-feed," stated surgeon general Regina Benjamin. "It protects babies from many infections and illnesses, such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Children who have been breast-fed have lower rates of childhood obesity, [and] mothers who breast-feed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers."

The surgeon general released a "Call to Action to Support Breast-feeding" earlier this year, outlining steps that can be taken to remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breast-feed their babies.

"In addition, the Affordable Care Act has made significant progress to support breast-feeding,which include historic new insurance guidelines that will ensure millions of women receive preventive health services without a co-pay or deductible," Benjamin added. "These new guidelines, developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, require insurance companies to cover certain women’s preventive services, including breast-feeding support, supplies and counseling."

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