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close this book4th Report on the World Nutrition Situation - Nutrition throughout the Life Cycle (ACC/SCN, 2000, 138 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 Evidence Linking Breastfeeding to Improved Outcomes
View the document3.2 Evidence Linking Complementary Feeding to Improved Outcomes
View the document3.3 Conceptualizing Infant Feeding Behaviours
View the document3.4 HIV and Infant Feeding
View the document3.5 Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding Patterns and Trends
View the document3.6 Role of National and International Initiatives in Support of Optimal Infant Feeding
View the document3.7 Looking Forward: The Importance of Exclusive Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding and complementary feeding behaviours are important predictors of infant and child nutrition, health, and survival. The vast majority of research has focused on the benefits of breastfeeding and complementary feeding to infants and young children, although there are also important benefits throughout the life cycle. There is evidence to link having been breast-fed as a child with stronger intellectual development1-3 and a reduced risk of cancer,4 obesity,5 and several chronic diseases.6, 7 Breastfeeding also benefits maternal health. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of ovarian cancer and premenopausal breast cancer.8-10 Women who were breastfed as infants also have a reduced risk of breast cancer.11

Improving breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices will therefore improve health, nutrition, and survival in the short - as well as the long - term and contribute to the well being of future generations. Because of the increasing recognition of the importance of foetal and early childhood nutrition throughout the life cycle, data on breast-feeding and complementary feeding are included for the first time in an ACC/SCN report on the world nutrition situation.