Friday, April 23, 2004

Decline in breastfeeding rates undermines children's development, says UNICEF: "    GENEVA, April 23 (Xinhuanet) -- The United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF) said Friday that the recent milk powder infant deaths in China appear to confirm trends of decreasing breastfeeding patterns in China, which may have significant long-term impacts on the physical and intellectual development of children.

    UNICEF expressed its sincerest condolences to the families of the 13 infants who died from the consumption of tainted powdered milk and warned that the problem is believed to be more serious and widespread with some 45 milk-producing companies being included in a warning list by the Food and Drugs Administration of China.

    While there is extensive scientific evidence that breastmilk is the best for infants, especially during the first months of life, exclusive breastfeeding rates during the first four months of life in China have been declining from around 76 percent in 1998 to 64 percent at the present time, the UN agency said.

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