Fed is Best Foundations Statement to USDA Healthy People Goals 2030

Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

From December 2018 to January 2019, the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 published the proposed Healthy People 2030 Objectives for public comment. Of note, the proposed Healthy People 2030 objectives saw a marked change from the 2020 objectives, namely a reduction of the breastfeeding objectives from 8 goals to one, namely, “Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed exclusively through 6 months” (MICH-2030-15 ). Among the objectives that were dropped from the list were:

  1. MICH-23 – Reduce the proportion of breastfed newborns who receive formula supplementation within the first 2 days of life.
  2. MICH-24 – Increase the proportion of live births that occur in facilities that provide recommended care (i.e. Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative-certified hospitals) for lactating mothers and their babies.
Healthy People 2020 ObjectivesBaseline (%)Target (%)
Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed (MICH 21)
Ever74.081.9
At 6 months43.560.6
At 1 year22.734.1
Exclusively through 3 months33.646.2
Exclusively through 6 months14.125.5
Increase the proportion of employers that have worksite lactation support programs (MICH 22)2538
Reduce the proportion of breastfed newborns who receive formula supplementation within the first 2 days of life (MICH 23)24.214.2
Increase the proportion of live births that occur in facilities that provide recommended care for lactating mothers and their babies (MICH 24)2.98.1
We applaud the removal of the last two objectives as patient safety issues have emerged from those two objectives, namely increased rates of neonatal jaundice, weight loss, hypoglycemia and dehydration readmissions. We have submitted the following statement regarding the Healthy People Goals for 2030 requesting for a revision of the current proposed objective and the addition of two new objectives.

Exclusive breastfeeding at discharge is a major risk factor for severe jaundice and dehydration. Both conditions can require in-hospital treatment and can result in permanently impaired brain development. Photo Credit: Cerebral Palsy Law

 

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High Rates of Newborn Hospitalizations for Jaundice Requiring Phototherapy in a Baby-Friendly-Compliant Hospital System

By Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

The true rates of excessive jaundice and hospitalizations of newborns for phototherapy due to jaundice has been recently published in JAMA Pediatrics published online April 11, 2016. In a study of 104,460 babies born between January 2010 and December 2013 in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) Healthcare System reported than an astonishing 12.4% of babies developed pathological hyperbilirubinemia of greater than 15 mg/dL in the study period, which has been shown in the scientific literature to increase risk of developmental disabilities. This translates to 12,953 babies or almost 12 babies a day.  In addition, 5.7% of babies required phototherapy admission, translating to 5954 newborns or 5 babies a day.

California has a state mandate to require Baby-Friendly certification in all its hospitals by 2020, which requires that >80% of eligible newborns be exclusively breastfed at discharge, the primary quality metric of the BFHI. Many California hospitals are working towards that designation and their exclusive breastfeeding rates at discharge are tracked by the California Department of Public Health. Estimates of excessive jaundice in the KPNC hospital system, which has among the highest exclusively breastfeeding rates at discharge, all except 2 reaching the >80% requirement, was described by this study. Seventy-one percent of these hospitalizations were extensions of the original birth admission, which means pathological jaundice was detected before discharge and the newborn’s hospital stay was extended to reduce the pathological effects of bilirubin, namely brain injury.

Severe newborn jaundice and phototherapy increase the risk of developmental disability

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