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World Health Day 2007.

This year's theme for World Health Day, 'invest in health, build a safer future' invited various interpretations. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) joined with La Leche League International (LLLI) in a reminder that support and protection of breastfeeding is an investment in maternal and child health. Their joint statement demonstrated that such an investment would show returns in: the foundation for the infant's immune system; a boost for the infant's nervous system; a shield from malnutrition; prevention of obesity and overweight; and overall increased survival. In low resource areas, the child's chance of surviving in the first months of life is far greater if he is breastfed.

As well as nourishing the child, breastfeeding also protects the mother by lowering her risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.

WABA and LLLI also pointed out that exclusive breastfeeding, a natural form of contraception, helps to increase child spacing. In addition, breastfeeding is environment-friendly. It requires no plastics production, no transportation and no need for disposal. It is a free, self-sustaining food source, providing unparalleled nourishment and reducing family medical bills.

Governments, health systems, the private sector and the general public should work to create a safe and enabling environment to support the culture of breastfeeding.
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Title Annotation:Worldwide news
Publication:International Midwifery
Date:Jun 1, 2007
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