News / Health

WHO: Breast-Feeding Can Save Infants' Lives

Hundreds of women promote public breastfeeding outside City Hall Square, Copenhagen, June 17, 2013.
Hundreds of women promote public breastfeeding outside City Hall Square, Copenhagen, June 17, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein
— The World Health Organization reports that exclusive breast-feeding until six months of age could prevent the deaths of more than 200,000 infants each year.
 
In order to mark World Breast-Feeding Week, August 1-7, a new WHO study finds few countries are implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, 32 years after it was adopted.
 
The WHO considers breast-feeding the best source of nourishment for infants and young children, describing it as a practice with lifelong health benefits. The agency says people who were breast-fed as babies are, for example, less likely to be overweight or obese later in life, and may be less prone to diabetes and more likely to perform better in intelligence tests.
 
According to Dr. Carmen Casanovas, a breast-feeding expert with WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, nearly all mothers are physically able to breast-feed and will do so if they have accurate information and support.
 
However, she says, while data show fewer than four out of 10 children in the world are currently exclusively breast-fed, the practice could save an estimated 220,000 infant lives annually.
 
"What is appropriate breast-feeding? It means starting breast-feeding within the first hour of life with skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant," she said. "Exclusive breast-feeding — that is, that the baby is not receiving anything but breast milk during the first six months of life — and continued breast-feeding with appropriate foods until two years of age or beyond."
 
Casanovas says many women are discouraged from breast-feeding, or have been led to believe their children will get a better start in life if they are fed infant formula and other commercial substitutes for breast milk.
 
The World Health Assembly adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes in 1981 to counter the aggressive marketing of these products to mothers by the industry.
 
WHO says infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk. It says infants in developing countries are at particular risk from the use of unsafe water and unsterilized equipment in making formula. It says babies can become malnourished because mothers may try to stretch supplies by over-diluting formula with water.
 
While the code was created to protect mothers from dishonest promotional campaigns, Casanovas acknowledges it has not been markedly successful. She says the WHO study shows only one out of five countries in the world are fully implementing the code. She says it is essential countries adopt and adapt the code to meet their own situation.
 
"They have to have a prohibition of advertisement of breast-milk substitutes; a prohibition of giving samples of breast-milk substitutes today in the health centers; a prohibition of giving gifts to the health workers, because sometimes it is not a sample, but it could be a trip to some place or any other type of gift," she said. "And a prohibition of advertising of giving samples to the mothers."
 
WHO says full implementation of the code is vital for reducing or eliminating all forms of promotion of breast-milk substitutes. The code is voluntary. It aims to control, not ban the marketing of these products.
 
WHO says it is very important for countries to monitor the implementation of the code. It notes this document allows member states to sanction those who do not comply with the regulations. It says those found in breach of the code can be fined or punished in other ways.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid