Media Release: Update on National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign
The United States Breastfeeding Committee has requested that LLLI distribute the following press release to the LLLI membership.
Babies Were Born To Be Breastfed!
For Immediate Release to Member Organizations of the United States Breastfeeding Committee
Washington, DC (January, 2004)-On January 22, 2004, representatives of the United States Breastfeeding Committee met with Kevin Keane, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to learn the status of the much anticipated National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. The launch date for the Campaign had been moved to allow for the appropriate research review process within DHHS to verify the science behind the ads. Representatives of the infant formula industry and others had voiced concerns about the strength of the scientific evidence for a risk-based approach.
Assistant Secretary Keane reported that the Campaign will be launched this spring. In a report to members of the United States Breastfeeding Committee on January 23, 2004, a senior agency official from the DHHS Office on Women's Health described the Campaign changes as minimal. The risk-focused campaign strategy remains intact and communicates the increased risk of diarrhea, ear infections, and respiratory illness and the possible increased risk of childhood obesity when children are not breastfed. The Campaign also stresses the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months.
While ads targeting childhood leukemia and diabetes have been removed, further research has been authorized by DHHS to explore the relationship to not breastfeeding. Specific risk ratios were also removed from the ads.
Assistant Secretary Keane indicated that he will also meet with representatives from the infant formula industry to inform them of the Campaign content just as he met with representatives of the USBC. He assured the USBC representatives that more information will follow when a launch date has been set.
The United States Breastfeeding Committee would like to thank all who have contacted the Department of Health and Human Services regarding your concerns and support for the Campaign. We understand more than 1,000 communications were received by the Department of Health and Human Services, and that they had a significant influence on the decisions made. You can demonstrate your continued support of and reactions to the Campaign by contacting the Office on Women's Health at www.4woman.gov.
La Leche League International (LLLI) has developed written materials for the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. LLLI also participated in the training of breastfeeding peer counselors who will be available to help mothers who call DHHS for information. As more mothers become aware of the importance of breastfeeding, volunteer Leaders will play a vital part in continuing to provide practical information and moral support. For more information visit the LLLI website at www.lalecheleague.org or contact Mary Lofton, PRManager at llli.org or (847) 519-7730, ext. #271.July 25, 2006 by chj.