Breastfeeding report card : United States, 2007
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    One goal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to improve the health of mothers and their children. One way to reach this goal is to encourage breast-feeding, which has many benefits for infants and children. People from all walks of life play a part in reaching this goal. When health care professionals, legislators, employers, business owners, and community and family members work together, their efforts can increase the number of women who breastfeed their babies and the number of months that they breastfeed them. The Breastfeeding Report Card — United States, 2007 is an important tool for spotting ways to increase breastfeeding nationwide. It gives states information on how breastfeeding is being promoted within a given state. It also makes it possible to compare states across the country.

    The information on breastfeeding in the Breastfeeding Report Card shows where the states have had success. It also shows where more work is needed. As part of the Breastfeeding Report Card, each individual state has a State Profile that gives specific information about each of the “indicators” from the Report Card for that state. These indicators are measures of a state’s ability to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. (Note that the Profile also tells how to get in touch with the state’s breastfeeding coordinator and the state’s breastfeeding coalition. These are people responsible for state-level efforts to promote breastfeeding.) The Breastfeeding Report Card is made up of eight “process” indicators that are elements of breastfeeding-friendly communities. In addition to the process indicators, the Breastfeeding Report Card has five “outcome” indicators that are derived from Healthy People 2010, a description of the nation’s health priorities.

    An important use of the Report Card is for state-by-state comparisons. For this reason, each indicator included in the Breastfeeding Report Card is something that can be measured accurately and is available for every state. With such information, it is easier to see how states differ from one another. Changes in any given indicator should represent a change in the way that breastfeeding is protected, promoted, or supported within a state. Such changes eventually influence outcomes in the health of children, outcomes that are related to breastfeeding.

    States can use their data on their progress on indicators in the Breastfeeding Report Card in many ways: To help tell the story of breastfeeding; To celebrate state successes; To identify good opportunities for growth and improvement in breastfeeding protection, promotion, and support statewide.

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