Healthy Eating Strategy #16: Increase Support for Breastfeeding

Our Healthier Communities Initiatives are built on the concept that local communities can work together to give all community members healthy choices and support the pursuit of healthy lifestyles.  More than 160 Ys are working in collaboration with community leaders to make changes in policies and the physical surroundings in those communities so that healthy living is within reach for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Healthy Eating Strategy #16: Increase Support for Breastfeeding

Breastfed children have shown a reduced risk of overweight and obesity. Increasing awareness and acceptance of breastfeeding through policies that support breastfeeding in the workplace can increase breastfeeding practices.


Breastfed children have shown reduced risk of overweight and obesity. Efforts to increase support for breastfeeding programs have the potential to improve breastfeeding practices. Increasing awareness and acceptance of breastfeeding through enhanced support—especially hospital-based educational programs—has been successful in increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration, particularly for low-income women. Peer counseling has also been significantly associated with breastfeeding initiation over the first three months post-partum. In contrast, research has shown that providing women discharge packs with free formula has a negative impact on breastfeeding. Policies that support breastfeeding in the workplace will likely remove barriers and extend breastfeeding practices more widely.


  1. Ahluwalia, I.B., Tessaro, I., Grummer-Strawn, L.M., MacGowan, C., & Benton-Davis, S. (2000). Georgia's breastfeeding promotion program for low-income women. Pediatrics, 105(6), E85.
  2. Chapman, D.J., Damio, G., Young, S., & Perez-Escamilla, R. (2004). Effectiveness of breastfeeding peer counseling in a low-income, predominantly Latina population. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 158, 897–902.
  3. Condon, L. (2010). Cut out for breastfeeding: changing attitudes to breastfeeding. Community Practitioner, 83(4).
  4. Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity: Research to Practice Series No. 4: Does breastfeeding reduce the risk of pediatric overweight? Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  5. Guise, J.M., Palda, V., Westhoff, C., Chan, B., Helfand, M., & Lieu, T. (2003). The effectiveness of primary care-based interventions to promote breastfeeding: Systematic evidence review and meta-analysis for the US preventive services task force. Annals of Family Medicine, 1, 70–78.
  6. National Conference of State Legislatures (2009). 50 states summary of breastfeeding laws.
  7. Rosenberg, K.D., Eastham, C.A., Kasehagen, L.J., & Sandoval, A.P. (2008). Marketing infant formula through hospitals: The impact of commercial hospital discharge packs on breastfeeding. American Journal of Public Health, 98(2), 290–295.
  8. Ryser, F.G. (2004). Breastfeeding attitudes, intention, and initiation in low-income women: The effect of the best start program. Journal of Human Lactation, 20(3), 300–5.

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