Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Public health nutrition
Title Breastfeeding practices and policies in WHO European Region Member States
Author(s)
Volume 19
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 1-12
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754616/
Abstract
Objective: To provide an update on current practices and policy development
status concerning breastfeeding in the WHO European Region.
Design: National surveys and studies conducted by national health institutions
were prioritized. Sub-national data were included where no national data or
studies existed. Information on national breastfeeding policies was collected
mainly from the WHO Seventh Meeting of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
Coordinators and European Union projects. Owing to the different data sources
and methods, any comparisons between countries must be made with caution.
Setting: WHO European Member States.
Results: Data from fifty-three WHO European Member States were investigated;
however, a large proportion had not reported any data. Rates of early initiation of
breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding to 1 year all
varied considerably within the WHO European Region. Exclusive breastfeeding
rates declined considerably after 4 months, and were low in infants under
6 months and at 6 months of age. The majority of the countries with existing data
reported having a national infant and young child feeding policy and the
establishment of a national committee on breastfeeding or infant and young child
feeding. The majority of the countries with existing data reported having babyfriendly
hospitals, although the proportion of baby-friendly hospitals to the total
number of national hospitals with maternity units was low in most countries.
Conclusions: Breastfeeding practices within the WHO European Region,
especially exclusive breastfeeding rates, are far from complying with the WHO
recommendations. There are marked differences between countries in breastfeeding
practices, infant and young child feeding policy adoption and proportion of
baby-friendly hospitals

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