One very simple thing could reduce healthcare costs while making generations of healthier -- and smarter -- people: Increasing education and support for breastfeeding.
Deborah Pascali-Bonaro, director of the amazing documentary Orgasmic Birth, posted info from Making Pregnancy Safer, a World Health Organization initiative. The bottom line:
A 2001 study from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that the US could save $3.6 billion a year if breastfeeding rates rose to the levels recommended by the federal government, based on an assessment of just a small fraction of disease in infants. If this analysis were adjusted using the more accurate breastfeeding data now available, adjusted for inflation and raised to the medically recommended rates, the true figure would be over $14 billion per year. If the costs of childhood obesity, maternal diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease were factored in, the true cost would likely be several times that figure.
Documented health benefits for mothers as well, many of which are likely the result of an increase in oxytocin flowing through the veins, include reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes post-menopause for breastfeeding moms.