Making suburban Cook County a Communities Putting Prevention to Workhealthier place to live, work and play 1010 Lake Street, Suite 430, Oak Park, Illinois 60301 Phone 708.524.5156 Email email@example.com Website www.cookcountypublichealth.net Help Illinois Children Get the Healthiest Start to Life Support exclusive breastfeeding environments to reduce the risk for childhood obesityBreastfeeding Prevents Childhood Obesity· Research shows that obesity is 22% lower among breastfed children.· With exclusive breastfeeding, the obesity rates are even less. Studies found that for each month of exclusive breastfeeding (up to 9 months) the odds of being overweight deceased by 6%.· Breastfeeding also reduces the likelihood of other chronic diseases, such as asthma and diabetes in children, as well as a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis in women.State of Breastfeeding in Illinois· Despite breastfeeding as a proven strategy to fight obesity, rates of breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity in Illinois are lower than the national average.· In 2008, approximately 40,000 babies born in Illinois were never breastfed. Black women and low income women are less likely to breastfeed their infants. Large disparities exist among diverse racial/ethnic and income groups in the state.· Hospital practices have a significant impact on breastfeeding duration. For example, 84% of hospitals in Illinois provide a formula gift back, a practice that discourages breastfeeding.· Private and public insurance providers are limited in supporting breastfeeding services such as reimbursement for breast pumps, lactation consultants and other breastfeeding support services. Such support is important for women who may have challenges initiating or continuing breastfeeding, especially after they leave the hospital and return to the workforce.Strategies (Policy) to Support Breastfeeding· Baby Friendly Hospitals: Implementation of the 10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding in hospitals would improve breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity rates for all women in Illinois.· Insurance Reimbursement: Reimbursement of breastfeeding support, such as lactation consultants and peer counselors, as well as breast pumps would support women in the postpartum period especially as they return to the workforce.· Environments to Breastfeed: Breastfeeding friendly environments at work and in the community would encourage and support women in making breastfeeding an easy, accessible and normal choice.