FY 2016 Breastfeeding Data Local Agency Report
By United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service
Breastfeeding promotion and support is a priority in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and is a core component of the nutrition services that the WIC Program provides to meet its mission of safeguarding the health of low-income women, infants and children. Research continues to reinforce breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for infants as it provides numerous health, nutritional, economical, and emotional benefits to both mother and infant. The WIC Program has achieved many accomplishments in promoting and supporting breastfeeding and continues to build upon these successes through its various breastfeeding efforts. Breastfeeding rates are steadily improving among WIC participants nationwide thanks to the efforts of WIC staff, who provide the education and support mothers need to successfully breastfeed. This is the sixth year that WIC State and local agency breastfeeding performance measurements have been collected and published. This year’s report is a compilation of fiscal year (FY) 2016 breastfeeding performance measurements based on program participant data of the number of partially and fully breastfed infants for each WIC State and local agency. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, requires the Department of Agriculture to annually compile and publish breastfeeding performance measurements.
The collection and publication of breastfeeding performance measurements strengthens the WIC Program’s emphasis on breastfeeding promotion and support and underscores the importance of exclusive, continued breastfeeding to support the health of WIC participants. This reporting requirement provides an exciting opportunity to help further the efforts of WIC State and local agencies by highlighting agencies that demonstrate success in breastfeeding through high breastfeeding rates, and motivates other agencies to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support services with the goal of increasing their breastfeeding rates. The breastfeeding performance measurements will be used in the process to determine awardees for initiatives that recognize the exemplary performance of WIC State and local agencies in breastfeeding, such as the Loving Support Awards of Excellence and the WIC Breastfeeding Performance Bonus Awards. Lastly, this data collection provides the WIC Program with a means to track breastfeeding data trends over time.
The data indicate an increase of 0.8% in the number of total WIC infants reported as breastfed from 30.9% in FY 2015 to 31.7% in FY 2016. This increase represents the successful efforts of WIC State and local agencies to continue to provide quality breastfeeding services, including peer counseling, to WIC participants. Other highlights from the FY 2016 WIC Breastfeeding Data Report include:
- An average of over 1.88 million infants participated in the WIC Program nationally.
- Approximately 31.7% of infants were reported as breastfed nationally (13.2% were fully breastfed and 18.5% were partially breastfed).
- The Northeast, Western and Southwest Regions’ performance measurements were above the national average with 39.7%, 38.9%, and 38.4% of infants reported as breastfed respectively.
- In the Mountain Plains and Western Regions, the percentage of fully breastfed infants is higher than the percentage of partially breastfed infants.
- Western Region had the greatest percentage of infants reported as fully breastfed at 21.2%.
- The data indicate an increase of 0.3% in fully breastfed infants nationally from 12.9%to13.2%.
- The percentage of partially breastfed infants increased from 18.0% to 18.5% in the WIC Program nationally.
January 17, 2018
United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (2017) Breastfeeding Data Local Agency Report. Available online: https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/wic/FY2016-BFDLA-Report.pdf