UN calls toddler components makers’ advertising and marketing methods’ immoral ‘

The United Nations has only slandered marketing strategies “immoral” manufacturers of breast milk substitutes. In a report released on Tuesday (February 22nd), the WHO and UNICEF, which have been campaigning for breastfeeding for many years, accuse large companies of failing “The interests of their shareholders before the interests of children and public health”.

According to a report released by UN agencies, companies in the sector spend between $ 3 billion and $ 5 billion a year to influence the decision of parents or pregnant women. “This report clearly shows that breast milk marketing remains ubiquitous, deceptive and aggressive.”condemns the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Marketing everywhere”

A total of 8,500 parents and pregnant women were interviewed, as well as 300 health workers in eight countries (South Africa, Bangladesh, China, Morocco, Mexico, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and Vietnam), selected to be geographically representative and quite diverse in terms of breastfeeding rates.

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In the UK, 84% of women surveyed were exposed to the marketing of breast milk substitutes. The rate climbs to 92% in Vietnam and 97% in China.

The WHO and UNICEF are also concerned about the constant lobbying of health workers “Approaching them to influence their recommendations to new moms”. “We see marketing everywhere. We see different approaches, sometimes transparent, sometimes more digitally focused. ”adds Nigel Rollins, a pediatrician who oversaw the study for the WHO.

Less than half of newborns are breastfed

Despite the known health benefits, only 44% of babies under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, according to the WHO and UNICEF. “Breastfeeding rates around the world have increased very little in the last 20 years, while sales of these baby formulas have doubled in about the same period.”underlined by UN agencies.

“A crying child who doesn’t sleep is very disturbing for parents, and the producers use these moments to say that we have a solution to your problems.”sorry Nigel Rollins.

Not going so far as to free up the shelves of baby milk stores, UN organizations are calling for a framework for abuse. “We need strong breastfeeding policies, legislation and investment to ensure that women are protected from unethical marketing practices”underlines Catherine Russell, who has led UNICEF since February 1.

Adhere to the UN Code of Conduct

Although the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body, adopted a code of conduct in 1981, it has very rarely been transcribed into national law. Even less applied. The WHO and UNICEF are asking manufacturers to publicly commit to adhering to this code of conduct.

Both agencies also recommend setting up a breastfeeding support program. such as adequate parental leave, but also to prohibit healthcare professionals from being sponsored by these manufacturers.

Nestlé, the world’s number one substitute for breast milk, reacted in advance to the study, saying marketing practices vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. The Swiss agri-food giant claims to have implemented strictly regulated marketing practices in accordance with the code. He is also in favor “Adoption of laws on the marketing of baby milk in all countries” and ready to discuss it with UNICEF and the WHO.

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