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Breastfeeding: Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies to be Theme for 2002 World Breastfeeding Week

SCHAUMBURG, IL (May 1, 2002)-Breastfeeding: Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies will be the theme of the twelfth annual World Breastfeeding Week celebrated from August 1-7, 2002 by La Leche League International (LLLI) and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding.

The composition of human milk is unique and provides significant benefits to mothers and infants. Studies show that women who breastfeed enjoy decreased risks of breast and ovarian cancer, anemia, and osteoporosis. Human milk provides the optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for each baby to thrive. According to research breastfed children have fewer and less serious illnesses and allergies, including reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, some childhood cancers and diabetes.

World Breastfeeding Week is part of WABA's ongoing campaign to increase public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding. La Leche League is a founding member of WABA's global alliance of health care providers, nongovernmental organizations and mother support groups.

August 1 marks the twelfth anniversary of the signing of the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding which was adopted in 1990 by 32 governments and 10 United Nations Agencies. The Innocenti Declaration recognizes the importance of breastfeeding to infant and maternal health, as well as the social, economic and ecological benefits it provides to the family and society. The Declaration states:

As a global goal for optimal maternal and child health and nutrition, all women should be enabled to practice exclusive breastfeeding and all infants should be fed exclusively on breast milk from birth to four to six months of age. Thereafter, children should continue to breastfeed while receiving appropriate and adequate complementary foods for up to two years of age or beyond. This child feeding ideal is to be achieved by creating an appropriate environment of awareness and support so that women can benefit in this manner.

LLLI is a nonprofit organization that provides breastfeeding information and encouragement through mother-to-mother support groups and interaction with parents, physicians, researchers and health care providers. The organization reaches over 300,000 women monthly in 63 countries. Visit LLLI on the World Wide Web at lalecheleague.org/.


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