TDH celebrates World Breastfeeding Month

The Texas Department of Health WIC Program will celebrate World Breastfeeding Month on Monday, Aug. 4 with a party at 1004 S. Bridge Street. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. There will be cake, cookies, punch and balloons, door prizes and gift certificates and gifts from Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Four Seasons, Higgin-bothams and Bealls. Donations to facilitate this event were received from Wal-Mart, Super S Foods and McShan Foods. This event marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Month 2003, a time each August when health officials spotlight the benefits of breastfeeding. Sponsors include the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) in conjunction with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, La Leche League International and the Texas Department of Health. This year’s theme “Breastfeed for Leaner, Brighter, Healthier Little Texans,” focuses on the health benefits that breastfeeding provides to children. It will be used in Texas Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition clinics to educate clients on the positive impact breastfeeding has on child health. Breastfeeding supplies the best nutrition for babies and helps them form strong immune systems to fight illness. Breastfed infants have fewer ear infections, incidences of diarrhea, lung infections and infections of the brain and spine. Recent studies confirm that children who were breastfed have higher IQ’s and a decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life. In addition, mothers who breastfeed their babies also receive health benefits including reduced risks of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Encouraging mothers to breastfeed their infants is an important step in health promotion in Texas. The benefits for the state include not only healthier Texans but also a significant reduction in health-care costs now and in the future. For more information about World Breastfeeding Month, visit the following web sites: http:www.-waba.org.br/wbw2002.htm; http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/wichd/bf/WBM2001-sitemap.htm and http://www.lalecheleague.org/walk.html. For the breastfeeding policy statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics, see http://www.aap.org/policy/r9729.html and the American Academy of Family Physicians position paper on breastfeeding at http://www.aafp.org/x6633.xml. For more information about the Texas Department of Health’s celebration, contact Diana Patterson, breastfeeding specialist at 597-0550.

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