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American Pediatric Society
October 2014

Social and Public Health Perspectives of Promotion of Breastfeeding

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(10):877-878. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.907

Pediatricians often encounter clinical scenarios in which individual health benefit, public health benefit, and social values intersect. For example, circumcision benefits health for an individual by reducing the risk of urinary tract and sexually transmitted infections and also has public health benefit by reducing overall population risk of sexually transmitted infection. However, some social movements consider circumcision a violation of human rights.1 Similarly, abstinence can be an effective strategy for some individuals to reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection and may be preferred to safe sex by some social groups because of their religious and moral beliefs. However, abstinence education may be less effective than safe sex education from a public health perspective.

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