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Breastfeeding For Up To One Year After Birth Can Reduce Child Mortality, UNICEF Says

Breastfeeding from birth to six months or a year can reduce deaths among children under five by 13 percent, a statistic that UNICEF is highlighting during World Breastfeeding Week, which runs through August 7, the International Business Times reports (DeNinno, 8/2).

According to a UNICEF news story, “exclusive breastfeeding of infants and young children could save many lives – because breastmilk is the most complete food available, containing all the nutrients, energy and antibodies that babies need to fight infections” (Green, 8/2). Other benefits of breastfeeding include reductions in stunted growth among children and mothers’ risks of “postpartum hemorrhage, anemia, maternal iron depletion, breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes,” according to UNICEF, IBT notes.  According to the agency, 36 percent of children are breastfed in developing countries (8/2).

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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.