AHS’s Breastfeeding Initiative Promotes Good Health, Helps Prevent Childhood Obesity

There’s overwhelming evidence that breastfeeding promotes good health for both infants and mothers

National Healthy Weight Week, January 20 – 26, is a perfect time to highlight a key benefit of breastfeeding that many may not be aware of its role in helping to prevent childhood obesity and overweight.

Unfortunately, breastfeeding rates are particularly low in communities of low socioeconomic status, such as those served by AHS. Residents of these communities typically face numerous barriers to access including lack of information on the benefits of breastfeeding and lack of support in overcoming its challenges.

Until recently, Alameda Health System’s patients had significantly lower than average rates of breastfeeding.

However, thanks to a major initiative launched in 2005 at Highland Hospital, these statistics have changed dramatically. In 2012, Highland received the coveted Baby-Friendly designation, an honor bestowed by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. This recognizes hospitals that demonstrate best practices in breastfeeding, as measured by high rates of breastfeeding at birth and during the baby’s first year of life.

Thanks to a recent grant from Kaiser Permanente’s East Bay Community Benefit Program, AHS is now expanding breastfeeding consultation to its Eastmont Wellness clinic in East Oakland. This program will give providers and patients increased access to Highland’s skilled International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants. Using innovative video-consultation technology, patients will be connected with experts who will provide breastfeeding support and encouragement.

With childhood obesity rates at record levels, AHS is committed to do all it can to prevent obesity and overweight, and to promote good health in our community.

Learn more about AHS’s Maternal-Child Health Center of Excellence and its outstanding local and national reputation for quality care.


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