Companies make misleading and baseless scientific claims to convince mothers to give their babies breastmilk substitutes in place of breast milk. This is shown in A report presented by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
The report is based on interviews with parents, pregnant women and health workers in eight countries. Among other countries, the United Kingdom, China and South Africa were included in the survey.
Provides incorrect information
According to Nigel Rollins of the World Health Organization, there are about six major producers of infant formula. Rollins points out that all companies run the same strong marketing.
The companies are accused, among other things, of infiltrating maternal groups on social media to market breastmilk substitutes. They are also accused of giving health workers “questionable information” at conferences and in pamphlets distributed to mothers.
More than a third of the women in the survey answered that health workers recommended that they use a particular brand of breastmilk substitute.
Claims that the report is incorrect include that babies sleep longer if they take a breastmilk substitute. It is also claimed that breast milk loses quality over time. In addition, it is claimed that some products can counteract allergies.
Baby formula sales doubled
According to the World Health Organization, breast milk in the first months of a child’s life provides lifelong gains in the form of, among other things, reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Breast milk also gives the baby a strong immune system. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop breast cancer.
Despite all the benefits of breastfeeding, 44 percent of the world’s babies under six months get breast milk. According to the report, the percentage has increased slightly in the past 20 years. At the same time, sales of breast-milk substitutes doubled in the same period.
Figures from 2019 show that the industry has a turnover of 55 billion dollars, which is about 500 billion kroner.
False and misleading messages about breast-milk substitutes are a major obstacle to breastfeeding. We know it’s best for babies and mothers, Katherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director, says in a statement.
No ads in Norway
– Companies do not have the same aggressive marketing in Norway. That’s what FHI Senior Consultant, Breastfeeding Unit, Mette Ness Hansen says. Norway has a regulation on infant formulas and follow-up formulas.
The regulations provide for the composition, composition, composition, marketing, advertising and sale of infant formula and supplementary mixtures intended for healthy children.
– Hansen says it does not provide an opportunity to advertise products as an alternative to breast milk.
The regulations state, among other things, that:
Advertising for infant formula and follow-up formula should be limited to scientific publications and contain only scientific and factual information.
Of course, new moms can still face online ads.
– in dWith digital platforms, you can learn about something no matter where you are, says Hansen.
According to the Breastfeeding Unit, 99 percent of all newborns in Norway receive breast milk. At 6 months of age, 71 percent are breastfed, while 35 percent get breast milk by the time they are one year old.
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