Mums Encouraged To Breast Feed in Public To Fight Childhood Obesity

PUBLISHED: 12:54 13 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 04 May 2010

BREASTFEEDING mums are being encouraged to feed in public in a drive to reduce childhood obesity. East Cambs has been given a grant of £5,000 to fund awareness-raising among shopkeepers and café owners, to make breastfeeding socially acceptable in public

BREASTFEEDING mums are being encouraged to feed in public in a drive to reduce childhood obesity.

East Cambs has been given a grant of £5,000 to fund awareness-raising among shopkeepers and café owners, to make breastfeeding socially acceptable in public.

Isabel Thomas, who is co-ordinating the project for the Primary Care Trust, insisted there was a proven link between breastfeeding and future health in children.

"East Cambridgeshire was chosen because a high level of childhood obesity has been identified, and across Cambridgeshire we do have low levels of breastfeeding," she told the Ely Standard.

"Peer educators" - successful breastfeeding mothers - will encourage and support new mothers to feel confident while breastfeeding. The peer educators will be selected by health visitors, and a group meeting will then be funded from the grant - as well as paying for 'breast-feeding friendly' posters aimed at retailers.

"I used to work in London, and I vividly remember the reaction when I put up a poster in a West London Macdonalds," said Mrs Thomas. "In the Western world, we do not always think of breastfeeding in a public place as culturally acceptable, yet in Scandinavia, where they are very open about it, that is where we see the highest breastfeeding rates."

"On a more serious note, by breastfeeding for six months you are giving your child a healthy immune system," she added.

The scheme is to be expanded by January next year.

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