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Health and Human Services competition promotes breastfeeding initiatives

According to Health and Human Services officials and health experts, breastfeeding reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome. File Photo by Ben Kerckx/Pixabay
According to Health and Human Services officials and health experts, breastfeeding reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome. File Photo by Ben Kerckx/Pixabay

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- In an effort to promote the benefits of breastfeeding for infants, the Department of Health and Human Services announced prize winners for its Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding Innovation Challenge on Tuesday.

"The national competition was created to identify and reward programs that increase breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates and decrease disparities -- among breastfeeding mothers in the United States," HHS said in a press release Tuesday.

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HHS said the initiative is part of the Biden administration's Maternal Health Blueprint, which was released in 2022.

Last year, the U.S. Labor Department launched an initiative to raise awareness about the rights of breastfeeding mothers in the workplace under the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act.

"To ensure infants receive the short- and long-term benefits of breastmilk, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months," HHS said.

According to HHS, breastfeeding reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome.

"These organizations have developed innovative ways to educate, encourage, and support breastfeeding, including in communities of color, so that parents can give their babies the healthiest start," said Deputy Assistant for Women's Health Dorothy Fink.

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The award recipients will each receive up to $55,000.

The five recipients selected are:

All Moms Empowered Everywhere: A breastfeeding support group primarily focused on African American mothers.

Baby Cafe USA: A Massachusetts nonprofit that provides community breastfeeding centers in 32 states.

Community Health Center of Richmond Inc.: A Staten Island, N.Y., breastfeeding support program that serves the immigrant and non-English-speaking population.

District of Columbia Breastfeeding Coalition: A Washington, D.C., nonprofit that seeks to increase breastfeeding rates in the African American community.

Mississippi Champs Program: A Boston Medical Center-based initiative that aims to increase breastfeeding rates.

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