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World Breastfeeding Week 2019: Theme, Importance and History

As per the UNICEF report, about 60% of the world’s total infants are missing out of recommended six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

Aug 4, 2019 08:50 IST
Image: who.int

Every year World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to 7 with an aim to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies across the globe.  As per the UNICEF report, about 60% of the world’s total infants are missing out of recommended six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

Theme

Empower Parents. Enable Breastfeeding: As per the information released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) the theme for 2019 World Breastfeeding Week is - Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding. The objective of this theme is to aware parents about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months because it has many benefits for the infant and the mother. Exclusive breastfeeding is a very important source of energy and nutrients in children aged between 6–23 months.

Importance of Breastfeeding Week

• According to the information released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), every newborn baby has the right to good nutrition according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
• As per the data collected by the United Nations Globally in 2016, 41 million children are obese in the world while 155 million children under 5 were estimated to be stunted (too short for age).
• Breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease in the mother.
• It prevents infections like early-stage diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections; also, it reduces the infant mortality rate.
• According to the WHO data, it is estimated that increased breastfeeding could avert 20,000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer.

Origin of World Breastfeeding week

It was first observed in 1992 by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and is now celebrated in more than 120 countries by UNICEF, WHO and their partners including individuals, organizations, and governments.

Breastfeeding week in India

The Food and Nutrition Board under the Ministry of Women and Child Development is organizing a number of activities in the country. Activities like Quiz competition on IYCF are being conducted in 30 States and Union Territories through 43 Community Food and Nutrition Extension Units of Food and Nutrition Board. At the grassroots level, various concerned departments are also organizing exhibitions on nutrition, displaying low-cost nutritious diets for infants and young children.

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