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Federal Government Encourages African-Americans to Breast-Feed

Breast-feeding has far-reaching, proven health benefits for both mother and child, which is why the federal government is promoting the practice specifically among African-American women, a group which has historically had lower participation rates.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched the education campaign "It's Only Natural: Mother's Love, Mother's Milk," which offers video testimonials, articles, radio spots and fact sheets reflecting the African-American experience with breast-feeding. It aims to educate and encourage.

Some 80 percent of American women breast-feed their children, but only 55 percent of African-American mothers do so, a press release from the department states.

Still, that's up from only 35 percent of African-American mothers in the 1970s.

"One of the most highly effective preventative measures a mother can take to protect the health of her infant and herself is to breast-feed," said U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin. "By raising awareness, the success rate among mothers who want to breast-feed can be greatly improved through active support from their families, their friends, and the community."

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

To read more in Education Week about breast-feeding, click here.

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