Exploitative formula milk marketing needs urgent clampdown - Lancet
14 Feb 2023 • According to Professor Nigel Rollins, a WHO scientist, a recent three-paper series in The Lancet highlights the enormous economic and political leverage of the major formula milk manufacturers as well as grave policy shortcomings that prevent millions of women from exclusively breastfeeding their children. For infants and young children, breastfeeding has immense and incomparable advantages. It provides significant nutritional benefits, lowers the risk of infection, lowers rates of obesity and chronic diseases in later life, and aids in children's survival and development to the fullest extent possible. However, despite WHO recommendations, only around 1 in 2 newborns are put to the breast within the first hour of life while fewer than half of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed. The marketing strategies used by the formula milk industry are exploitative, and immediate action is required to combat false advertising and political meddling, which includes lobbying against essential breastfeeding support policies. This includes portraying support for exclusive breastfeeding as a moral judgement while promoting milk formula as a practical and effective alternative for working women. The Lancet series urges significantly stronger support for breastfeeding across healthcare and social protection systems due to the enormous benefits breastfeeding has on people's health.
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