Benefits of Breastfeeding
An Introduction for Health Educators
Currently 16% of Americans breastfeed their children for at least 12 months as recommended by the AAP, which is well below the HP 2010 goal of 25%. Breastfed infants receive benefits that can improve their health throughout their lives. The benefits of breastfeeding for children include increased resistance to infectious diseases, such as gastroenteritis, respiratory tract infections, and ear infections. Breastfed children also display lower rates of chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity, asthma, and leukemia. The choice to breastfeed results in economic benefits from lower health care costs and from reduced spending on infant formula. The Healthy People 2010 targets are reviewed along with several studies of interventions to increase breastfeeding rates. Health educators must work to increase breastfeeding rates.