Global & Disaster Medicine

World Breastfeeding Week 2019


The cognitive, health and economic benefits of breastfeeding are well established and recognized, yet only 37 percent of children under 6-months-old in low- and middle-income countries are exclusively breastfed and about 50 percent of newborns initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

Breastfeeding has one of the highest returns on investment of any development activity: every dollar invested in breastfeeding interventions yields an estimated $35 in economic gains. Breastfeeding duration is also associated with higher IQ and income as well as greater educational attainment. Inversely, suboptimal breastfeeding is associated with economic losses of about $302 billion each year, or 0.49 percent of world gross national income. With support to scale up global breastfeeding practices, the deaths of 823,000 children under 5-years-old and 20,000 women could be prevented, annually.

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