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Michelle Obama calls for removal of breastfeeding barriers at work

The lack of appropriate places for nursing women to express milk at work leads to fewer continuing with breastfeeding – which is linked to higher rates of obesity, says Obama.

Image: Peter Kramer/AP/Press Association Images

MICHELLE OBAMA HAS extended her campaign against childhood obesity by calling for the removal of barriers in the workplace for women who choose to breastfeed.

In the past year, the Obama administration has made steps to encourage women to breastfeed, including the introduction of more flexible work rules and making nursing supplies tax-deductible.

However, Obama is being careful to treat the subject gently as many women may choose not to breastfeed, said her communications chief Kristina Schake: ”Breastfeeding is a very personal choice for every woman,” Schake told Politics Daily. “We are trying to make it easier for those who choose to do it.”

Marking the first year anniversary of her anti-childhood obesity campaign, “Let’s Move”, Obama said: “We’re learning now is that early intervention is key… Kids who are breastfed longer have a lower tendency to be obese.”

She has also been setting her focus on encouraging African-American mothers to nurse, as they are less likely to breastfeed than any other ethnic group in the US.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks faced by women who choose to breastfeed is the return to work after having their baby, she said, as many workplaces do not have clean, private facilities for mothers to express and store milk.

Meanwhile,  Sarah Palin has accused Obama of trying to use her position to dictate private behaviour, the Telegraph reports.

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