Nationwide Children’s Hospital recently was honored with Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award. Nationwide Children’s is one of 22 employers in the state to be honored by ODH, and just one of 11 to receive the award.
Through initiatives for employees including a workshop for nursing mothers returning to work and weekly lactation clinics, Nationwide Children’s is working to improve the health of central Ohio’s littlest members. Previous research has shown that children who are breastfed have a reduced risk of many health problems including diabetes, asthma, childhood cancer and obesity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, low rates of breastfeeding add $2.2 billion a year to medical costs. Babies who are formula-fed instead of breast-fed tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the country would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90 percent of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months.
Ohio is committed to promoting and protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed her child for as long as she chooses, whether or not she returns to work. Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth for the optimal health of a mother and her child.
ODH and other breastfeeding advocates around the state developed the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award to acknowledge employers who establish and maintain comprehensive, high-quality breastfeeding support programs for their employees.
The Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award and Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Business Awards are awarded annually. The 2014 applications will be available online in the summer of 2014. For more information about the award and other ways the Ohio Department of Health supports healthy behavior, visit www.healthyohioprogram.org.