Breastfeeding promotes harmonious growth in children, expert says

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 01-10-2018 08:28:00 · 0 Comments
Breastfeeding promotes harmonious growth in children, expert says

The director of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Predictive Medicine and Public Health of the Faculty of Medicine of Porto, Henrique Barros, said breastfeeding is "an extraordinary promoter of the growth and harmonious development of children."

"Nowadays we know that children who are breastfed also have a higher intelligence, regardless of their mother's intelligence or social conditions, for example, and a greater ability in adulthood to have better jobs, and better wages," said Barros, who is also president of the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto (ISPUP).

In other words, "put in simple terms, although the process is complex, breastfeeding is a promoter of social success and to that extent it helps each person to have a better life and societies to be egalitarian and richer," he told Lusa News Agency.

On Friday Barros gave a lecture on "The contribution of breastfeeding to the reduction of poverty and inequalities" at the International Conference on Breastfeeding, held by the National Baby Friendly Initiative/UNICEF at the auditorium of the Magalhães Lemos Hospital in Porto.

"It has been known for a long time that breastfeeding is extraordinarily economically efficient because it is ready, it is the result of the mother's metabolism and life and from this point of view, it leads to families not becoming economically unbalanced . It is an obvious contribution to the ability to use economic resources for other purposes," said the researcher.

But "the most important thing is that breastfeeding works from a psychological and physical point of view as an extraordinary promoter of the growth and harmonious development of children," he said.

"Unfortunately, there has to be action to promote it and to counteract a certain movement that exists on the part of, for example, the food industry which forces, so to speak, the use of alternative products and thereby breaks this virtuous cycle and [...] widens inequalities."

The conference organisers noted that "breastfeeding is, in the context of inequalities, crises and poverty in which we live globally, one of the most important foundations for good health throughout the life of children."

It considers that "the economic impact of breastfeeding is equally relevant in combating socio-economic inequalities as it contributes to reducing disparities."

The initiative marked the start of the Breastfeeding week in Portugal, which takes place between 1 and 5 October.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization have said that investing in policies that promote breastfeeding could save the lives of more than 800,000 children under the age of five every year.


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