Press Release
January 10, 2011

Legarda: Promotion of Breastfeeding Will Help Achieve MDG
of Reducing Child Mortality Rate

As the nation continues to work for the achievement of the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Senator Loren Legarda today pushed for a more focused campaign on the promotion of breastfeeding as a way to help attain goal number four--the reduction of child mortality rate.

"According to the World Health Organization (WHO), poor nutrition is associated with over 50% of deaths in children under the age of five. Furthermore, the lack of exclusive breastfeeding of infants during the first six months have found to have contributed much to more than a million child deaths each year, which can be reduced with appropriate feeding," Legarda said.

The Senator noted a WHO study that shows the benefits of breastfeeding on infant mortality. Based on the study, exclusive breastfeeding among infants aged 0-3 months prevents 55% of infant deaths due to diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Meanwhile, 32% of such deaths could be prevented with partial breastfeeding among infants aged 4-11 months. This protection from common childhood sicknesses is possible because breast milk contains antibodies, which infant formula lacks.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also recommends that infants be restricted to breastfeeding for the first six months of their life because it is one of the most powerful tools available to ensure good nutrition and healthy development of newborn children.

Studies have also revealed that breastfeeding brings mothers several health benefits, such as reduced risks of acquiring breast and ovarian cancer, faster restoration of pre-pregnancy weight, and less probability of being obese.

To ensure that all infants, and even mothers, are able to get all the abovementioned benefits from breastfeeding and its many other positive effects, Legarda filed Senate Bill 2627, the Breastfeeding Promotion Act.

She explained that the main objective of her proposed legislation is to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding and by ensuring the proper use of breast milk substitutes when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.

"A serious campaign on the promotion of breastfeeding should be implemented so that everyone may well be aware that breast milk not only satisfies the hunger of infants and toddlers, but also ensures better health and improved development of both mothers and their children," Legarda stressed.

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