The University of Zurich (UZH), Switzerland, is planning to increase its research in the child and youth development area by creating a new centre for breastfeeding research.
To help improve breastfeeding research, the new centre at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Informatics will be the first of its kind in the world and will help understand the long-term effects of breastfeeding.
The centre, which comprises a professorship and associated research fund, will be financed by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation to the tune of CHF 10m (~€8m).
Why do women breastfeed?
Despite a lot of scientific evidence of the health benefits of breastfeeding for both children and their mothers, there is still not much known about women’s reasons for breastfeeding and how they are influenced by their sociocultural environment.
This is what Zurich University will be examining in the new Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Center for Economics of Child and Youth Development with a Focus on Breastfeeding.
By autumn of 2018, there will be a new professor appointed for the economics of child and youth development with a focus on breastfeeding.
The professorship endowed by the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation is a valuable complement to the existing research being done at the Department of Economics into child and youth development.
UZH president Michael Hengartner said: “We are very glad that the Foundation is expanding its support. It enables an internationally unique research programme to be initiated at UZH.”
Combining economics and medicine
The foundation already initiated a professorship for human lactation research within the Faculty of Medicine at UZH in 2015.
It invested CHF 20m into this endowed professorship, which focuses on researching the influence of breastfeeding and human milk on early child development.
Goran Larsson, chairman of the foundation, said: “With the two professorships in economics and medicine at UZH, a unique research cluster will be created that will enable findings from the medical field about brain development in breastfed infants to be linked to findings relating to the long-term effect of breastfeeding on children and young people.”
Increasing research efforts
Dr Katharina Lichtner, managing director of the foundation, added: “Our aim is to be able to make available new findings from our research activities to help mothers who are facing the decision of whether to breastfeed, as well as for politicians or healthcare professionals seeking reliable information and data sources.”