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Media Release: La Leche League International Commends the World Health Organization on Publication of New Child Growth Standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: (847) 519-7730, Mary Lofton, Ext. 271, mlofton at llli.org ; or Mary Hurt, Ext. 286, mhurt at llli.org . After hours contact: 630-710-0247.

(Schaumburg, IL) April 27, 2006La Leche League International (LLLI) welcomes the establishment of new Child Growth Standards based on the breastfed infant as the normative model of how children should grow and develop.

The new World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards, using a world-wide sample of over 8,000 children, demonstrate that environmental differences, rather than genetics, are the main determinant of disparities in physical growth and development. The new charts will be an invaluable tool for parents and healthcare providers as a way of detecting under-nutrition, overweight and obesity, and other growth and nutrition-related conditions at an early stage in a child's life.

The premise of the study is that the gold standard in infant nutrition is exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding after the introduction of appropriate complementary foods. In research for the new WHO Child Growth Standards, mothers from Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman and the United States were given the encouragement and education they needed to breastfeed.

While breastfeeding is natural, it is a learned art and mothers need information and support. LLLI meets these needs through a network of mother-to-mother support group meetings, telephone counseling, web site and email support, and publications.

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their babies are encouraged to attend LLLI meetings. Topics discussed include childbirth, beginning and continuing breastfeeding, nutrition and the introduction of appropriate foods after six months. For nearly 50 years, and now in over 60 countries around the globe, mothers gather at monthly meetings with accredited LLLI Leaders for information and support.

For additional information about the ground-breaking WHO Child Growth Standards, go to http://www.who.int/childgrowth/en/index.html. For information on breastfeeding, or a Group in your area call 1-800-LA LECHE or visit www.lalecheleague.org

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