Monitoring the World Health Organization Global Target 2025 for Exclusive Breastfeeding: Experience From the United States

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Exclusive breastfeeding under 6 months, calculated from a single 24-hour recall among mothers of children 0 to 5 months of age, is a World Health Organization (WHO) indicator used to monitor progress on the 2025 global breastfeeding target. Many upper-middle-income and high-income countries, including the United States, do not have estimates for this indicator.

Research aim:

To describe the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding under 6 months in the United States.


We used a single 24-hour dietary recall from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2012 to calculate the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding under 6 months. We discuss our results in the context of routine breastfeeding surveillance, which is reported from a national survey with different methodology.


Among children younger than 6 months, 24.4%, 95% confidence interval [17.6, 31.1], were exclusively breastfed the previous day.


To our knowledge, this is the first estimate of the WHO indicator of exclusive breastfeeding under 6 months for the United States. This study supports the global surveillance and data strategy for reporting to the WHO on the 2025 target for exclusive breastfeeding.

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