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Breastfeeding Critical To Children’s Health, Development

New York Times: The Miracle Breast Milk Elixir
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

“What if there were a remedy that could save more children’s lives in the developing world than are claimed by malaria and AIDS combined? A miracle substance that reduces ear infections while seeming to raise scores on I.Q. tests by several points? Available even in the most remote villages, requiring no electricity or refrigeration? Oh, and as long as we’re dreaming, let’s make it free. This miracle substance already exists. It’s breast milk. Current estimates backed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF are that optimal breastfeeding would save 800,000 children’s lives a year in developing countries. That would amount to a 12 percent drop in child mortality, a huge gain. … Sometimes the solutions [to global problems] are dazzlingly high-tech, but almost nothing could save as many children’s lives each year as nature’s own miracle: breast milk” (10/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.