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Public comment sought on breastfeeding action plan

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health
Hon Steve Chadwick
Associate Minister of Health

19 March 2008 Media Statement
Public comment sought on breastfeeding action plan

A new plan aimed at improving breastfeeding rates and creating supportive environments for breastfeeding was welcomed by Associate Health Ministers Damien O’Connor and Steve Chadwick today.

The National Strategic Plan of Action for Breastfeeding, prepared by the National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Health, aims to improve breastfeeding rates through a coordinated approach at local, regional and national levels with a well trained, well supported and effective breastfeeding workforce.

Launching the plan in Wellington today, Damien O'Connor said the Government is committed to improving breastfeeding rates and there are a number of initiatives underway aimed at creating supportive environments for breastfeeding, which will all be guided by the Plan.

Steve Chadwick said breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start to life. “Breastfeeding is important for babies' growth, development and health. It provides optimum nutrition, assists physical and emotional development, protects against infectious disease and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity. Breastfeeding is also important for the mother's health."

The Plan will be used to guide work of the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards, such as:

- the national breastfeeding social marketing campaign
- the Baby Friendly Initiative
- infant feeding health promotion
- workforce training and development
- implementing and monitoring the International Code in New Zealand.

“DHBs are also required to develop a breastfeeding action plan for their district this year as part of the implementation of the Healthy Eating – Healthy Action (HEHA) Strategy,” said Mr O’Connor.

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