Magazine article The Nation's Health

Kansas Health Association Works to Improve Breastfeeding in State

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Kansas Health Association Works to Improve Breastfeeding in State

Article excerpt

THE Kansas Public Health Association is doing its part to increase breastfeeding rates in the state. With a generous grant from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, the APHA-affiliated organization is awarding funds to help local health departments develop new initiatives or expand current programs to promote and support breastfeeding in their communities.

"It's a good project for any state that wants to promote healthy babies," Kansas Public Health Association Executive Director Elaine Schwartz said, noting that the program will be evaluated in 2012 to determine if the health departments awarded grants were truly instrumental in raising breast feeding rates in their communities.

Organizers of the initiative hope that giving money to local health departments to raise breastfeeding rates will bring Kansas closer to achieving the federal government's Healthy People 2010 breastfeeding goals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2009 "Breastfeeding Report Card," 43.8 percent of Kansas mothers are still breastfeeding at age 6 months. The number falls below the Healthy People 2010 goal of 50 percent at age 6 months, but is slightly higher than the national rate of 43.4 percent.

"We are very hopeful that if this is successful, there will be more funding from the health fund to offer more grants to health departments," said Schwartz, an APHA member.

The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund in Hutchinson, Kansas, is funding the project at $130,000. Health departments will be awarded up to $10,000 each for their breastfeeding initiatives and are encouraged to partner with academic institutions, medical practices, local organizations and other advocates interested in improving breastfeeding rates in their communities. …

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