Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the first businesses in the state to be awarded the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
“Companies like Nationwide Children’s realize that supporting breastfeeding is an excellent way to improve the health of our community’s littlest members,” said ODH Director, Ted E. Wymyslo, M.D. “Children who are breastfed have a reduced risk of many health problems including diabetes, asthma, childhood cancer and obesity.”
“Nationwide Children’s Hospital breastfeeding initiatives give mothers the support, confidence and skills to successfully breastfeed their baby," said Ihuoma Eneli, MD, medical director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "We encourage exclusive breastfeeding for six months to reduce the risk for infections especially in the first year of life and for optimal nutrition for the baby. Also, breast milk contains essential nutrients for eye and brain development. We are also excited about the opportunities to retain and encourage valuable employees through these programs that promote healthy families.”
“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,” said Dr. Wymyslo. “These costs are significant enough that a 2010 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.”
Dr. Wymyslo also noted that supporting breastfeeding makes good business sense. Studies have found that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism rates on the part of new mothers and increases their productivity.
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.
The Ohio Department of Health, with the assistance of the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association 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.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of 18 businesses in Ohio to be honored and one of 9 to receive the Silver award from the Ohio Department of Health.
The Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award will be awarded annually and 2012 applications will be available online in the summer of 2012. For more information about the award and other ways ODH supports healthy behavior, please visit www.healthyohioprogram.org, or contact Kristen Marschner at Kristen.firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 466-2248.