From Science Daily:
A new study from The Australian National University (ANU) has found a global boom in the sale of infant and baby formula, especially in China and Southeast Asia, raising concerns about the health of millions of mothers and their babies.
Lead researcher Dr Phillip Baker said the study suggested governments around the world needed to do more to control marketing of baby formula and to ensure work policies gave women a choice to breastfeed their children.
Growth in formula sales was most rapid in East Asia, particularly China, Indonesia and Vietnam, where millions of mothers are entering the workforce as the countries industrialise.
“What we are talking about is potentially the largest shift in infant and young child nutrition on record,” said Dr Baker, from the RegNet School of Regulation and Global Governance at ANU.
The World Health Organization recommends infants are exclusively breastfed up to six months of age, with ongoing breastfeeding for up to two years of age and beyond, to ensure they get the best start in life.
“Paid employment is a very good thing for families, especially those living on the bread line. The problem is that without paid parental leave or family friendly workplaces breastfeeding can be very difficult or even impossible,” Dr Baker said.
“Without supportive workplace policies and regulations in place, formula feeding is often the only choice available to parents in many countries.
“Competition among companies selling formula is also reaching fever pitch. We estimate that the industry’s global marketing spend exceeded…