Breastfeeding Goals For Healthy People 2010
Marie L. Bosco, BSN, RNC, IBCLC Home Health Care & Private Practice Lactation Consultant, MI
What is Healthy People anyway? The first set of national health initiatives was published in 1979. It was a set of challenging goals with 1990 targets that drove change. Healthy People 2010, released earlier this year, builds on initiatives started over the last two decades.
According to this report, 64% of all mothers breastfed their babies in early postpartum in 1998. One of the goals of Healthy People 2010 is to see this percentage increase to 75 in the next 10 years. In 1998 only 29% of mothers were still breastfeeding at 6 months and merely 16% at one year. Healthy People would like to see 50% of 6 month olds and 25% of 1 year olds still breastfeeding.
Why is this so important to the government? Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with numerous research proven benefits to both mothers and infants. It is important for public health to improve the health of every generation and reduce health care costs to the family.
Other breastfeeding goals are related to rates related to both race and education level. African Americans initiate breastfeeding at a rate of 45% compared to 66% in Latinos and 68% in White populations. There is also a direct correlation between breastfeeding initiation related to education level, the higher the education the more likely to breastfeed. 48% of less than high school degreed mothers will breastfeed compared to 78% of those with a college degree.
Healthy People 2010 will be looking for progress in education of new mothers and their partners; education of health providers; changes in routine maternity care practices; social support, including support from employers; and greater medial portrayal of breastfeeding as the normal method of infant feeding. Nurses and nurse practitioners can play a leading role in this education.
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