Breastfeeding Rates in Georgia Below National Averages
A new analysis shows that Georgia still lags behind the national averages on infant breastfeeding rates. In 2011, the latest year data was available, 79.2 percent of newborn infants started breastfeeding nationally, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
The Georgia rate was 70.3 percent, slightly up from the 68.2 percent rate the year before.
Yet once again, the annual report card says that zero Georgia births in 2011 occurred at “Baby-Friendly” hospitals that promote breastfeeding. A handful of other states also had a zero mark. Nationally, the average of births at these designated facilities is 7.79 percent.
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for infants and mothers, according to multiple medical sources. For the baby, breastfeeding reduces the incidence and severity of many infectious diseases, lowers infant mortality and supports healthy development of the brain and nervous system. It also lowers infants’ risk of becoming obese later in childhood.
For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.