Promote and support breastfeeding as right start to proper nutrition

LETTER — Posted Sept. 5, 2011

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Regarding "Fight against obesity should start early in life" (Editorial, July 18): I want to congratulate the AMA for its strong support in fighting childhood obesity. Your recent editorial outlined very nicely many of the potential strategies to improve childhood nutrition.

One very obvious strategy that we as physicians need to support that was not mentioned in the editorial was the promotion and support of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding costs very little, saves money, maximizes the health of both the baby and the mother, and now appears to be one effective strategy in preventing obesity. Yet why do we in medicine take a casual approach in encouraging and providing the support that families need in order to breastfeed successfully? We certainly do not take the same approach in recommending immunizations, the first one of which many would argue is breastfeeding.

With health care reform taking place and health care costs escalating to the point that we all know cannot be sustained, it is time for the entire medical community to be proactive in supporting breastfeeding.

For getting the information needed to get started, contact the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which all have great educational materials to make sure that you as a physician can do your part.

Thomas Tonniges, MD, Omaha, Neb.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/09/05/edlt0905.htm.

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