WICHITA, Kan. – With a goal of increasing initiation and duration rates of breastfeeding throughout the state, 10 Kansas organizations and agencies have received funding totaling approximately $1 million through the Kansas Breastfeeding Initiative, a partnership of the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) and the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund (UMHMF).
Organizations receiving funding include:
Breastfeeding provides immediate and lifelong nutrition and health benefits for mother and child, as well as larger economic, environmental and social benefits to families and communities. Research shows breastfed babies are less likely to become obese, and have a lower risk of developing asthma, diabetes and respiratory infections. Yet, Kansas ranks 48th in the nation for rates of mothers who exclusively breastfeed during a child’s first six months.
“Breastfeeding at the earliest stages of life has been shown to have a lifetime of positive results,” said Chan Brown, program officer for the Kansas Health Foundation. “Working with these grantees, we will strive to give all mothers and babies the best chance at breastfeeding success.”
Funding to these organizations will support the implementation– in hospitals, workplaces and communities–of strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support mothers in successful breastfeeding.
“Increasing breastfeeding rates in our state has to start with changing the culture around how we support, promote and encourage breastfeeding for new mothers,” said Katie Ross, program officer for the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund. “From maternity care practices, to employer support, to better and more readily-available education, if we want our state to see the long-term benefits of breastfeeding, we need to work together to reverse the trend of declining breastfeeding rates and duration.”
All grantees will work to further develop and implement breastfeeding initiatives in coordination with health care systems, health care providers, public health professionals and community efforts.
The Kansas Health Foundation is based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. With a mission to improve the health of all Kansans, KHF envisions a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices where they live, work and play. To achieve this, KHF focuses its work to address health equity in four impact areas: access to affordable health care, healthy behaviors, civic and community engagement and educational attainment. During the past 35 years, KHF has provided more than $600 million in grants to improve health in Kansas communities.
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