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Ottawa, CANADA – Nutrition International supports the conclusions of the 2023 Lancet Series on Breastfeeding, which reinforces the need for breastfeeding to be a collective societal responsibility and calls for breastfeeding to be protected, promoted, and supported at all levels of government and public health.

Every year, the lack of a concerted effort to support breastfeeding costs the world US$574 billion in economic losses, the result of increased child and maternal mortality, increased healthcare costs and depleted human capital potential, according to Nutrition International’s Cost of Not Breastfeeding Tool. Conversely, early and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond, as recommended by the World Health Organization, could prevent 510,000 maternal and child deaths, 4.58 million cases of childhood obesity, and save families more than 10% of their household wages by not having to purchase infant formula.

In 2022, Nutrition International and Alive & Thrive released an updated version of the Cost of Not Breastfeeding Tool with data for more than 180 countries, allowing users to calculate how much a country’s lack of support for breastfeeding is costing – not only in healthcare spending, but in mortality, IQ points and future human capital. This tool provides policymakers and advocates with the information needed to determine the impact of investments and policies to support and promote breastfeeding.

As experts call for increased protection and promotion of breastfeeding, the Cost of Not Breastfeeding Tool is a critical tool to ensure governments and policymakers have the data they need to do so effectively.