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Public Health Intervention Essay

692 words - 3 pages

Autism, a disease associated with “poor social interaction, limited verbal and nonverbal communication, severely restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors,” is witnessing a dramatic increase in the Unites States population (1). Rates are increasing between 14% and 20% each year, which certainly warrants attention (2). Not only is there a concern for the health and wellbeing of the population at risk, but there is also an estimated 35 billion dollars at stake (3). Costs include direct (medical) costs, and indirect (nonmedical) costs. Directs costs include outpatient care, clinical services, dental care, prescription medications, complementary and alternative therapies, behavioral ...view middle of the document...

This suggests that maternal nutritional deficiencies can impact the normal development of offspring. When compared to cow’s milk, breast milk has lower amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin D (4). The research suggests two reasons for reduced risk among WIC children: mother’s with adequate income (who are not WIC participants) are able to afford more nutritious food, may rely solely on breast milk for infant nutrition, and therefore be missing vital nutrients and have an increased risk for autism; and those who participate in WIC are provided education on nutrition and breastfeeding may have a higher nutritional status and a lower risk for autism in their offspring (1). Nutritional risks among new mothers and newborns include returning to their original body weight (resulting in insufficient caloric intake), a western diet of high-calorie, high-fat, and low-vitamin diets, convenience food for new mothers which is highly processed and has reduced vitamin content, discontinuation of prenatal vitamins, extremely low levels of thiamine in breast milk, and daily recommended intakes of thiamine and riboflavin are increased for lactating women (although actual intake may not increase) (1).
The research identifies a population at risk, fetuses and newborns who are exclusively breastfed for longer...

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