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Mother's milk a gift that keeps on giving
Date:9/14/2007

GALVESTON, Texas Extensive medical research shows that mothers milk satisfies babies nutritional needs far better than any manufactured infant formula. It also protects babies against many common infectious diseases and certain inflammatory diseases, and probably helps lower the risk of a child later developing diabetes, lymphoma and some types of leukemia.

These conclusions appear in a major new review of the medical literature published this month entitled Benefits and Risks of Breastfeeding.

The article, published in the current issue of Advances in Pediatrics (and available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00653101), surveys both risks and benefits associated with breastfeeding. Many mothers and medical professionals may not understand that a great number of protective factors unique to human milk are provided by breastfeeding and how much breastfeedings benefits outweigh its rare but often well-publicized risks, said Dr. Armond Goldman, senior author of the paper and professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

In the United States, this misunderstanding of benefits versus risks in addition to social factors such as less generous maternity leave policies and poor preventive health care for much of the population has helped keep the rates of initiation and continuation of breastfeeding in the U.S. lower than those in most developed countries, Goldman said.

Coincidentally, the paper appeared online just before the Washington Post reported on Aug. 31 that lobbyists for the infant formula industry had succeeded in getting the federal Department of Health and Human Services to tone down a government-sponsored attention-grabbing advertising campaign in 2004 designed to convince mothers that their babies faced real health risks if they did not breastfeed.

A congressional investiga
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Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

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