Friday, March 02, 2012

Clatsop County Women, Infants & Children Program Honored For Its Work In Promoting Breastfeeding

PHOTO: Clatsop County
Public Health Department staff (l. to r.) administrative assistant Sarah Kuhl,
public health nurse Patsy Lee Horecny, WIC nutrition aides Yami Garcia and Tory
Sutherland, and Oregon WIC breastfeeding coordinator Kelly
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Clatsop County’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program was honored Tuesday by the State of Oregon for its successful efforts promoting breastfeeding among local mothers.

Kelly Sibley, state nutritionist and breastfeeding coordinator for Oregon WIC, presented the certificate of recognition at the county Public Health Department.

“Clatsop County WIC is where women go to get the encouragement, help and support to breastfeed,” Sibley said. “Every day, your consistent support helps moms know that they can breastfeed, that breastfeeding is the routing way, the normal way to feed and nurture infants.”

Along with the award comes a $50,000 grant that the county will use to build a local coalition, involving local hospitals and other partners, to further promote breastfeeding. The local award and funding is part of the Breastfeeding Performance Bonus awarded to the Oregon Nutrition and Screening Program for WIC.

Oregon is one of just six states recognized with the award by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its efforts to promote breastfeeding. The state ranks first in the United States with 93 percent of new mothers initiating breastfeeding, versus 75 percent nationwide. In Clatsop County, the rate is 96 percent.

According to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, breastfeeding is one of the most highly effective measures a mother can take to protect the health of the infant and herself. Breastfeeding, which has been a primary focus of WIC for more than 15 years, is known to reduce the incidence of infections, asthma and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and is also associated with lower rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers later in life.

Clatsop County Public Health provides WIC services through two WIC certifiers, a public health nurse and a contracted nutritionist who works with high-risk clients. In 2010 the program served 1,508 infants and children under 5 and 578 pregnant and postpartum women.

“Our program does a lot,” said Public Health Director Margo Lalich. “We have a highly trained staff with a lot of knowledge.”

Released by: Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 338-3622

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