The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “infant feeding should no longer be thought of as a lifestyle choice, but rather as a public health issue, because of all of the short and long term risk reductions to both mothers and infants.”
Memphis has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. We also have one of the highest rates of infant mortality, obesity, and even diabetes and asthma – conditions which are less likely to occur if mothers breastfeed.
At St. Andrew AME, Drs. Kenneth and Marilyn Robinson have a ministry called “The Right Start” — a new program that trains “Milk Missionaries” to guide new and expectant mothers, to help them reach their breast-feeding goals.
Such public health matters are often thought of as government responsibilities. Does the faith community also have a responsibility when it comes to public health in general, and breastfeeding in particular?
What is your congregation doing about public health? Which faith-based public health ministries impress you?
The Church has a concern for the total welfare of all our members and all our neighbors. In Christian work, we integrate our mercy ministries, which address folks’ immediate and long-term temporal needs, with our evangelism, which addresses their eternal need for salvation. Concerning public policy, it is important that church leaders acquire the necessary expertise on issues for which they advocate, and Drs. Robinson obviously have such expertise. In neighborhoods which have inadequate medical resources, it is especially helpful for the churches to provide medical guidance and services, as well as solid biblical teaching.