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Sunday, December 11, 2005The results of a study by the Thai Public Health Ministry were published today in the The National, Bangkok's Independent Newspaper. The study found that by the fourth month, less than 30% of Thai babies were still being breastfed.
From The National:
The findings have prompted ministry officials to initiate a programme next year to encourage young Thai mothers to breastfeed their babies, he said. The campaign aims to raise the number of breastfeeding women to at least 40 per cent of new mothers, he said.
The doctor said the alarmingly low rate of breastfeeding among Thai mothers might partly explain the low average Intelligence Quotient among Thai children. International studies conducted in the past five years have found that children who were breastfed for longer periods had a higher IQ than those who were not, Pratch said.
He cited the results of an international survey that compared the IQ levels of 3,800 children, half of whom were breastfed for six months and the rest for only a single month. Children who were breastfed for at least six months had an average IQ of 104, whereas those in the other group had only 99.4, Pratch said.
While the article gave no speculation on why breastfeeding rates are so low, the Thai results are on par with countries like The UK but fall below the rates of countries like Australia, Canada and India. In fact, according to UNICEF, the exclusively breastfed rates for South Asia as a whole were 46% in 2000. Rates for East Asia were at 57%.
Labels: Stats and Studies