For Immediate Release
January 20, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Surgeon General's Call to Action:

A Roadmap to Improving Support for Breastfeeding Mothers

Three out of four women in the United States provide their infants with the healthiest start in life by breastfeeding and today Surgeon General Regina Benjamin called on the entire nation to support the removal of barriers to this important public health behavior. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding is an unprecedented document from the nation’s highest medical source, calling on health care providers, employers, insurers, policymakers, researchers and the community at large to take action steps to support mothers in reaching their personal breastfeeding goals. 

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) also encourages the benefits of breastfeeding and its important, positive long term effects on the growth and development of infants.

“We promote breastfeeding during the first six months of infancy and longer,” said Robert Moser, MD, Acting Secretary and State Health Officer for KDHE. “It is the best way an infant can obtain the nutritional and emotional resources needed during the first year of life.”

The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) applauds the Call to Action, which is based on the latest evidence about the health, psychosocial, economic, and environmental effects of breastfeeding. The document includes action steps and implementation strategies for six major sectors of society:

The increased promotion and support of breastfeeding in the United States and Kansas has led to improved rates. The Kansas breastfeeding initiation rate from 2009 KDHE birth certificate data was 78 percent. That rate allowed Kansas to meet the Healthy People 2010 Objective breastfeeding initiation rate of 75 percent. Two areas that show improvement is needed for Kansas to meet the new 2020 Healthy People Objectives are:  improving the duration of breastfeeding as well as exclusive breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding promotes overall health, growth and development for infants by preventing infections during infancy, as well as asthma, obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses in childhood and later adulthood,” said Robert Moser, MD, Acting Secretary and State Health Officer for KDHE. “In addition to the benefits for infants, breastfeeding is also a benefit to mothers by advancing the recovery from postpartum depression and decreasing the risk of ovarian, uterine and endometrial cancers, as well an anemia, diabetes and osteoporosis.”
For more information on the Call to Action, visit the Surgeon General’s website: www.surgeongeneral.gov/.  More information on breastfeeding, and its benefits, can be found at: www.kansaswic.org/breastfeeding/.