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January 13, 1993

Breast-feedingTime to Teach What We Preach

JAMA. 1993;269(2):243-245. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500020077035

IN THE Healthy People 2000 report,1 the US Secretary of Health and Human Services set as new goals for breast-feeding in the United States to "increase to at least 75% the proportion of mothers who breast-feed their babies in the early post-partum period and to at least 50% the proportion who continue breast-feeding until their babies are five to six months old." Importantly, these goals were set for the nation as a whole, without reference to any ethnic or economic subgroup. This conveys the message that breast-feeding will benefit all our nation's children, not just those of a defined population. The report goes on to state that overcoming barriers to successful breast-feeding will require "public and professional education and improved support from health care providers...."

In recognition of the beneficial effects of breast-feeding to infants and of the role physicians can play in its promotion, the American Academy of