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Media Release: BREASTFEEDING IS CENTRAL TO MEETING GOALS FOR WOMEN

For Immediate Release
Contact Information: Mary Lofton, PRManager at llli.org; Mary Hurt, PRAssociate at llli.org; Rebecca Magalhaes, RMagalhaes at llli.org
(847)519-7730, Extensions 271, 286, 260

Schaumburg, IL (March 2005)-La Leche League Leaders (LLLI) Leaders Judy LeVan Fram and Kate Sharp were among 6,000 delegates meeting at the 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss a wide spectrum of issues related to the advancement of women and girls worldwide.

At the meeting, LLLI in collaboration with five other breastfeeding advocacy groups*, issued the "2005 Progress Report on Breastfeeding"-a document that outlines the importance of breastfeeding as it relates to women's status in society, their health, and their economic development.

The Millennium Development Goals include eradicating hunger; reducing under-five mortality; combating disease; improving maternal health; creating environmentally sustainable sources of food; and encouraging gender equality. Breastfeeding is central to achieving all of these goals.

Breastfeeding provides a safe and secure food source. It reduces under-five mortality.
Recently published research shows that achieving optimal infant feeding would reduce under-five mortality by 19%. Breastfeeding helps the child's developing immune system to resist infections such as diarrhea.

Breastfeeding plays a major part in safe childbearing and aids in child spacing. It contributes to women's health by reducing blood loss at birth, anemia, and the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Human milk is a naturally renewable environmentally friendly source of food for infants and young children and gives both boys and girls the best start in life.

The "2005 Progress Report on Breastfeeding" calls on international and national programs to monitor the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at six months as an indicator of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. For a downloadable version of this document visit the LLLI Web site at www.lalecheleague.org.

LLLI is a non-profit organization that has a presence in sixty-five countries worldwide. The LLLI mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed their babies.

*International Baby Food Action Network; International Lactation Consultant Association; National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy; World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action; and Wellstart International

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