News article

Breastfeeding rate Lowest in TN: Survey

Posted:  Monday, December 23, 2013

By Amritha K R – CHENNAI | Published: 16th December 2013 12:03 PM | The New Indian Express

At a time when exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding till two years for infants has found global recognition as one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival, the latest report of the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) in rural India says that in Tamil Nadu about 6 per cent of children, including those in the 0-5 months age group, are not being breast-fed at all.

The latest report, which is part of the third repeat diet and nutrition survey conducted by the NNMB in select rural villages across the country, found that the State has the highest proportion of infants not being breast-fed. According to the survey, Tamil Nadu tops the list in the proportion of children not breast-fed in all age groups covered — 0-5 months, 6-11 months and 12-35 months.

In the 0-5 months category, 5.8 per cent of children are not breast-fed. This climbs to 16.7 per cent in the 6-11 months category and about 70 per cent in the 12-35 months category.

Moreover, not only does Tamil Nadu top the list of states with highest proportion of children who are not breast-fed, it also stands far apart from the other nine states. For instance, in the 0-5 months age group, though Kerala stands second, its proportion is less than half of that of Tamil Nadu at 2.3 per cent. In comparison, the national average stands at just 0.8 per cent. Similarly, in the 6-11 months age group, Madhya Pradesh stands second, with 3.5 per cent. In the 12-35 months group too, MP comes second at 51.8 per cent, but far better than Tamil Nadu.

Experts said issues like absence of adequate support and guidance by elders in the family could have led to the situation.

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