Thirty-year-old marketing regulation fails to make global impact
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Global Only 37 countries, or 19 per cent of those reporting, have enforced the World Health Organisation’s – WHO – International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. The marketing code was introduced in 1984, following WHO’s concerns that infant formula was being marketed “too aggressively”.
To date, 69 countries – 35 per cent – have banned the advertising of infant formula, while only 62 – 31 per cent – prohibit sampling.
Additionally, 64 countries – 32 per cent – ba r red manufacturer gifts to health workers, and 83 – 42 per cent – require a message about the superiority of breastfeeding on packs.
Mothers are often inundated with incorrect and biased information through advertising, health claims, information packs and sales representatives, says WHO. It adds that new mothers and the less educated are affected more negatively.
WHO, which aims to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding for six months to 50 per cent by 2025, has also criticised follow-on milk as “unnecessary and inappropriate”.
Baby steps: Only 65 countries have embraced the code recommendations in full