US threatens nations over world breastfeeding resolution, shocking health officials

Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution

The resolution said countries should limit the misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes, as a mother's breast milk has been shown to be the healthiest for children in decades of research.

The Times notes a 2016 series in the Lancet in which researchers estimated that universal breastfeeding could spare the lives of 823,000 children each year and save $302 billion in economic losses. For more than 45 years the Council has advocated optimal infant health and the critical role of infant nutrition, supported families in their feeding decisions and educating on appropriate infant feeding options. This is a clear violation of Philippine law. According to UNICEF, "an exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child". They found no impact, except under one condition: In communities that lack clean water, access to formula raised infant mortality by 9.4 per 1000 births-essentially, the availability of formula "led to more bad water getting to infants", he said.

World Health Organization has long supported breastfeeding, and years of research has found breast milk to be healthier than other substitutes.

Still, Dr. Mitchell says health leaders should use the USA opposition as motivation.

The New York Times, meanwhile, published a piece that painted America as a bully.

A New York Times report claimed USA officials fought against language that all governments should "protect, promote and support breastfeeding".

The measure was expected to be introduced by Ecuador. The strong-arm tactics worked, and Ecuador dropped its support of the resolution.

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Caitlin Oakley, a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement that "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding". "We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons". The spokesman asked to remain anonymous in order to speak more freely.

The recommendations are based on an established body of evidence showing breastmilk is nutritionally, economically and ecologically superior to formula or other breastmilk substitutes.

The worldwide infant formula industry, worth $70 billion, is dominated by US and European countries and has faced plateauing revenue in the developed world in recent years as awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding spreads. Their sales have increased, however, in developing countries. "The Trump administration takes a bold stance against mother's milk", a New Republic headline read. Of course, it is in line with the general attitude of the USA, which has earlier opposed taxes on sugared drinks and attacked changes in licensing law proposed to deliver life-saving medicines in poor countries.

The U.S. delegation doesn't agree with a public health policy of keeping information away from women who are feeding their children.

But more than a dozen participants from several countries-most requesting anonymity out of fear of U.S. retaliation-told the Times that the American officials surprised health experts and fellow delegates alike by fiercely opposing the resolution.

A Russian delegate told the New York Times that "the final resolution preserved most of the original wording". Another section called on countries to restrict promotion of food products that could have harmful effects on children.

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