Jun 1, 1997

The cost of not breastfeeding: a commentary

Journal of Human Lactation : Official Journal of International Lactation Consultant Association
J M Riordan

Abstract

Breastfeeding, a valuable natural resource, promotes health, helps prevent infant and childhood disease, and saves health care costs. Additional annual national health care costs, incurred for treatment of four medical conditions in infant who were not breastfed were estimated. Infant diarrhea in nonbreastfed infants costs $291.3 million; respiratory syncytial virus, $225 million; insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, from $9.6 to $124.8 million; and otitis media, $660 million. Thus, these four medical diagnoses alone create just over $1 billion of extra health care costs each year. Breastfeeding may also enhance intellectual development of children according to at least one medical research study. The potential societal benefits of more intelligent children is incalculable even though it cannot be directly measured in terms of dollars. Finally, it was calculated that an additional $2,665,715 in federal funds is needed yearly in order for WIC to provide infant formula to nonbreastfeeding mothers. For the average family, the cost of purchasing formula is twice the cost of supplemental food for the breastfeeding mother. Breastfeeding education and support should be an integral part of health care, especially under managed care whi...Continue Reading

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  • Citations31
  • References18
  • Citations31

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections
Bottle Feeding
Breast Feeding
Diabetes Mellitus, Insulin-Dependent
Respiratory syncytial virus
Infantile Diarrhea
Diabetes, Autoimmune
Cost Savings
Breast Feeding, Exclusive
Treatment Costs

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