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All countries failing at breastfeeding: World Health Organization

Turns out, we’re all a bunch of boobs.

The World Health Organization slammed all 194 countries it evaluated for its Global Breastfeeding Scorecard released Tuesday.

The WHO found that only 40% of babies younger than six months old around the world are breastfed as their only means of sustenance and that only 23 of the countries looked at had exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60%. The organization explained in the report that these numbers are far too low considering the many health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child.

“Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life,” the director-general of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, said in a release. “Breastmilk works like a baby’s first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive.”

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The World Health Organization slammed all 194 countries it evaluated for its Global Breastfeeding Scorecard released Tuesday.

(FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Breastfeeding during the first six months of life can help prevent two major causes of death in infants — diarrhea and pneumonia.

And mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancers, according to the report.

The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard aims to demonstrate how nations need to invest in breastfeeding for both health and economic benefits.

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Breastfeeding during the first six months of life can help prevent two major causes of death in infants — diarrhea and pneumonia.

(AjFilGud/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

An accompanying study titled Nurturing the Health and Wealth of Nations: The Investment Case for Breastfeeding found that getting breastfeeding rates to 50% for babies up to six months old could, over 10 years, possibly save the lives of about 520,000 children worldwide and generate $ 300 billion in economic gains that would have been spent on medical care for sick infants.

“Breastfeeding is one of the most effective — and cost effective — investments nations can make in the health of their youngest members and the future health of their economies and societies,” UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said. “By failing to invest in breastfeeding, we are failing mothers and their babies — and paying a double price: in lost lives and in lost opportunity.”

WHO is calling on nations to help promote breastfeeding by enacting paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies, provide breastmilk for sick newborns and counsel new mothers on how to breastfeed.

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