Breastfeeding: Some Strategies Used to Market Infant Formula May Discourage Breastfeeding; State Contracts Should Better Protect Against Misuse of WIC Name
Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Millions of U.S. mothers and infants each year forgo the health benefits of breastfeeding and rely on infant formula. Infants who are breastfed are less likely to develop infectious diseases and chronic health problems, such as diabetes and asthma, while breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop certain types of cancer. Recognizing the health benefits of breastfeeding for infants and mothers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2010 campaign has recommended that more U.S. infants be breastfed and that babies be breastfed for longer periods of time. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. would save a minimum of $3.6 billion in health care costs and indirect costs, such as parents' lost wages, if breastfeeding increased to meet these Healthy People goals. Breastfeeding rates are particularly low among infants who participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). WIC is administered by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in cooperation with state and local agencies. The program provides free food and infant formula to improve the health and nutritional well-being of low-income women, infants, and young children. Nearly half of infants born in the U.S. receive benefits through WIC. Although formula manufacturers agree that breastfeeding is best, they market infant formula as an alternative for mothers who do not exclusively breastfeed. A congressional committee asked us to review the potential impact of infant formula marketing on breastfeeding rates, especially for infants in the WIC program. We answered the following questions: 1) What are the estimated breastfeeding rates for infants in the general population and for infants on WIC, and how do these rates compare to recommended breastfeeding rates? 2) How is infant formula ...
Date: February 8, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department