CDC Report: Breastfed Babies Become Healthier Eaters by Age 6

A new report from researchers at the U.S Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows that children who were breastfed for longer periods as infants tend to eat more healthier by the age of 6.

The research provides insight into reducing childhood obesity rates, which have more than doubled in the last 30 years.

According to ABC News, researchers surveyed more than 1,500 mothers and concluded that parents who exclusively breastfed for longer periods and introduced nutritiously rich foods  between 6 months and a year of age tend to enjoy healthier eating habits—water, fruits and vegetables.

Seeing these relationships between early feeding and later health really emphasizes the importance of following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics,” states Kelly Scanlon, a CDC researcher who authored the study. The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months, and continuously breastfeeding until a year of age, introducing healthy foods at 6 months.

Scanlon also states that studies have shown t that breastfeeding exposed children to a variety of flavors. Making them more accepting to different foods over formula-fed children. 

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Pre-Existing Conditions Impact Breastfeeding: Study Shows Women Entering Pregnancy in Poor Health Less Likely to Nurse

While much focus has been given to increasing breastfeeding education during the prenatal period, a new study suggests that how women enter pregnancy may be a stronger influencing factor. A new study from the University of Minnesota  School of Public Health showed that one-third of women entering pregnancy are in poor health and thirty percent less like to breastfeeding than someone without pre-existing conditions. And if they do, they often prematurely discontinue.


This new study  looked at 2,400 women who had given birth between 2011 and 2012. A third of the women participating suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure or was obese.


Dr. Katy Kozhimannil, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the School of Public Health, states “We also looked at statistically who are these women, and we found they were likely to be non-white, more likely to be low-income, to have lower education, unmarried and without a partner, and receiving public health insurance.”


Kozhimannil says she hopes the study’s findings will encourage the medical community to work harder to support pregnant women with challenges and “simple counseling women to breastfeed is not enough.”


“Telling women that it’s good for them and their babies is not enough, without adequate support as well. There might be special support that women with complex pregnancies need,”  says Kozhimannil.

Connecting the First Food and Good Food Movements in Philadelphia

Good nutrition starts at birth. And the most healthful first food for infants is breastmilk. So instead of looking at infant feeding and early childhood and adult feeding as two separate agendas an innovative project in Philly sought to take a live course perspective to food—from your very first intake after birth through your adult years.

The First Food / Good Food Project by Common Market, a Philly based, non-profit food distributing organization in the Mid-Atlantic region, founded by Tatiana Garcia-Granados,and Haile Johnston, used this framework and then sought to identify and understand the key influencers for food decisions from how we feed our babies to how we feed ourselves.

Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The First Food/Good Food Project reflects the work of Christiaan Morssink, MPH, PhD, Adjunct Professor in Public Health Policy & Administration at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and Natisha Muhammad, MPH, who served as the Research Coordinator. Kimberly Seals Allers, served as the Project Director, bringing her previous work using community assessment models to explore the concept of a “first food desert” to this project.

The findings will enlighten you. To read the full report click here:

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grant to Improve Infant Health Outcomes With Community Approach

Detroit-based Metro Solutions receives multi-year, $425,000 grant to fund community-based breastfeeding initiative


Metro Solutions, a Detroit-based non-profit fiscal intermediary, has partnered with three nationally recognized infant health and community engagement experts who will launch an innovative pilot project to improve community support for breastfeeding, and thereby improve infant and maternal health outcomes in cities across America.

The project, the First Food Friendly Community Initiative, is funded by a $425,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and is guided by the premise that the first food—breast milk—with its unparalleled immunological and preventative health properties, is the earliest and most optimal intervention point for improving the likelihood of healthier infants and children. The 2 ½ year project, which will include pilots in Detroit and Philadelphia, aims to create more supportive “first food friendly” community environments for mothers and infants by identifying on-the-ground partners and targeting local agencies, establishments, faith-based institutions and residents for multi-pronged coordinated strategies. These strategies stretch beyond traditional health interventions and include economic and workforce development components. By eradicating “deserts” of support and removing common barriers to increased breastfeeding with comprehensive community-led interventions, infants and the families that care for them can have more healthful and empowered lives.

Kimberly Seals Allers, a leading advocate and consultant on breastfeeding, Kiddada Green , founder of the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association and Duane Kinnon, a management consultant with over three decades experience in non-profit and health and human services will spearhead the community-based work. Ruth Rashid Kaleniecki, a licensedsocial worker currently focused on community engagement around early childhood education, will serve as Metro Solutions’ grants director.

“We are delighted to work with such respected leaders in the field whose work dovetails perfectly with our commitment to advance community well-being and to add another WKKF grant to our growing portfolio as we provide fiduciary management and support for community service providers,” says Rose Khalifa, executive director of Metro Solutions, which creates strategic financial partnerships with health care systems, non-profit foundations, universities, social service agencies, and local municipalities.

“For years, we have been saying that hospitals are only step one and that women need more supportive environments where they work, play, eat and worship in order to have meaningful breastfeeding success. This grant from the Kellogg Foundation allows us to continue working on making that a reality for more mothers and babies and to develop a nationally scalable model,” says Seals Allers, who will serve as project director. “It is exciting to partner with Metro Solutions, who have a proven commitment to community health, on this project.”

About the FFCI Team: Kimberly Seals Allers is a nationally recognized media commentator, consultant and advocate for breastfeeding and infant health. As a consultant, Kimberly has led ground-breaking community-based projects in the southeast and Philadelphia that explore the impact of “first food deserts”—communities that severely lack or have inaccessible resources to support mothers who choose to breastfeed—and examining how to transform these areas into more breastfeeding supportive environments. A former IATP Food & Community Fellow, her advocacy work also centers on rethinking childhood nutrition and preventative health as beginning at birth with the optimal first food—breast milk.  Kiddada Green is the founding executive director of Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA), co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week and sits on the advisory council of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, Women’s eNews Black Maternal Health and Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program.  Mrs. Green works tirelessly to increase breastfeeding rates for African Americans, and contributed recommendations for The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. She is committed to supporting families, and training public health workers on cultural competence in breastfeeding support.  Duane Kinnon, president & CEO of the Kinnon Group, LLC, is a leader in community engagement and nonprofit management with more than 30 years of human service experience working with global organizations like the Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club of America, the YMCA and YWCA, institutions of higher learning, state education departments, various school districts, Parks & Recreation Departments, Public Housing Authorities and faith-based organizations. Mr. Kinnon has a long-standing track record strengthening communities to better serve vulnerable youth and families with high quality, researched-based programming.


About Metro Solutions: A Wayne County, Michigan non-profit organization, Metro Solutions, was established in 2003 to provide organizational and operational support to tax-exempt hospitals, to form strategic partnerships with health care supporters and sponsors statewide, and to fund and promote programs that deliver quality health care to the uninsured and underinsured in the metro Detroit area. It has since expanded its capabilities beyond healthcare to support the efforts of non-profit foundations, universities, social service agencies, and local municipalities.

About WKKF: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit

Why Transforming First Food Deserts to First Food Friendly Communities Matters

By Kimberly Seals Allers

In 2006, Mari Gallagher used the concept of a “food desert” to transform how we think about food access. Gallagher’s work studying access to supermarkets in Detroit and the health implications thereof, sparked the slow ascent of the term “food desert” into the American vernacular.  In 2012, the First Lady has made elimination of food deserts an anchor element of her broader “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity.

And while the term “desert” has come under some criticism since a desert is in fact a thriving ecosystem, we use the term in recognition of the severe sense of “lack” present in these communities.  A desert lacks rain, and has extremely limited vegetation and food options.  We use the term in acknowledgement that in first food deserts, infants are limited, at times stunted, and facing systemic barriers to their fullest potential.  Furthermore, we use the term most significantly in its verb form as in “to abandon; to withdraw from without intent to return,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. In this understanding of the word, we see an important dimension, heretofore missing from the breastfeeding conversation.  That is, for a woman to successfully breastfeed we must also and perhaps first, address the systemic failures and the “lack” in her community.

Our initial exploration of key cities in states with low breastfeeding rates, specifically Birmingham, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana, uncovered consistent similarities in uneven opportunities, risks, resources, and community sentiment, which can be viewed as key identifying factors in communities with low breastfeeding rates.  This work, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, makes a significant contribution to the breastfeeding landscape by demonstrating that where you live makes a considerable difference in your likelihood to breastfeed and your likelihood and ability to continue breastfeeding. This is noteworthy, because previous efforts at increasing breastfeeding rates particularly among low-income and African American women, have primarily focused on messaging. That is, “what” is being said to these women, with little understanding of their community environment, and minimal consideration to the “where” and the impact of “place” as a determinant of breastfeeding success. This focus on messaging has had some success in increasing initiation rates but negligible success at increasing duration—which is where the preventative medicine of breast milk really take hold.

The findings of this exploratory pilot project suggest that there are common defining elements in first food deserts, some concrete some nuanced, all of which show that communities where breastfeeding is stunted, have patterns and commonalities. By addressing, acknowledging and naming these “deserts” we can better address the infant health and wellness challenges also common in these communities.  By clarifying the “lacks” in these neighborhoods, we can better fill in the gaps.