Marketing of children’s formulas is aggressive and misleading, reports UN News

World Health Organization (WHO) And the name of this report from the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF is – How the marketing of formula milk influences our decisions about baby food,

This is the first report in a series of two UN agencies, based on talks with parents, parents, pregnant women and health workers in eight countries.

Half of the respondents admitted that they had been targeted by formula milk companies.

aggressive marketing

unicef ​​i The WHO says the $ 55 billion formula dairy industry uses systematic and unethical marketing strategies to influence parents’ decisions when it comes to feeding babies.

These strategies also include exploitation activities that negatively affect children’s nutrition and violate international commitments.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, says: “This report clearly shows that the marketing of formula milk remains persistent, misleading and aggressive, which is unacceptable.”

He also called for early approval of laws and regulations to crack down on exploitation marketing and its implementation to protect children’s health.

The report found that marketing techniques for formula milks include random and aggressive online targeting, offering free gifts and impacting training and healthcare referrals.

discontinuation of breastfeeding

Report The formula milk industry often provides parents, guardians, and health care workers with misleading and baseless information and information, in addition to violating the International Code of Marketing Alternatives to Breast Milk.

For this report, 8,000 pregnant parents and 300 health workers were surveyed, in which it was found that the marketing of formula dairy products reached 84% of women surveyed in the UK. This figure was 92 percent in Vietnam and 97 percent in China, which greatly increases the chances of choosing formula milks.

UNICEF Executive Director Katherine Russell says: “False and misleading messages about formula milk are a major obstacle to breastfeeding, even though we know that breastfeeding is better for babies and expectant mothers.”

misleading message

In the countries where this survey was conducted, women expressed a strong desire to breastfeed and the number of these women ranged from 49% in Morocco to 98% in Bangladesh.

However, this report shows how misleading marketing messages spread misconceptions about breastfeeding and breastfeeding and diminish women’s confidence in their ability to breastfeed successfully.

Katherine Russell calls for appropriate policies and regulations to protect women from unethical marketing practices and to provide accurate information and information about parenting, as well as to invest resources in promoting the practice of breastfeeding.


Billions of dollars are spent every year on the aggressive marketing of infant formula.

misleading information

Some of the misleading information that has been spread about breastfeeding is that breast milk is insufficient for baby nutrition., Infant formula enhances baby’s growth and immunity; And also that over time, the quality of breast milk is deteriorating.

Statistics show that breastfeeding during the first hour of birth, then exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and continuing breastfeeding for the next two years and beyond can lead to a wide variety of child malnutrition. It is a strong defense. against

Breast milk also serves as the first vaccine for the baby, which protects the baby from many childhood illnesses, as well as reducing the risk of diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer in nursing mothers.

According to the World Health Organization, breast milk is the best option for ensuring the healthy development of babies, and breastfeeding can prevent 13% of infant deaths.

Formula milk sales double in 20 years

Despite these countless benefits of breastfeeding, only 44% of babies under six months of age worldwide are exclusively breastfed.

Over the past two decades, there has been little increase in breastfeeding rates worldwide, while in about the same period, formula milk sales have doubled.

One of the main concerns of the report is that infant formula companies have attracted health workers with gifts, research money and even sales commissions, so that they can cover the food needs of babies, options for mothers and influencing decisions.

More than a third of the women who responded to the survey said a health worker had recommended the formula for a specific baby company.

A woman is breastfeeding her daughter in an aquarium in Canada.

@Vincent Cardinal

A woman is breastfeeding her daughter in an aquarium in Canada.

face challenges

Following the publication of this report, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and its partners have called on governments, health workers and the baby food industries to end the commercial exploitation of milk. of formula.

He also called for the full implementation of the requirements of the International Code., pass laws to prevent the promotion of formula milk, includes monitoring and implementation,

In addition, invest in assisted breastfeeding policies and programs with substantial paid parental leave, and prohibiting healthcare workers from accepting sponsorships from companies offering scholarships, Awards, Grant, Sells baby and toddler food for meetings or events.

Formula milk and tobacco are the only two products for which there are international recommendations that prohibit marketing.

In this case these recommendations, Breast milk substitutes exist through the International Marketing Code.

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