USA delegates pushed for removal of resolution language calling on governments to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding." . Under pressure from the infant formula industry, US officials threatened retaliatory trade and military measures if Ecuador moved forward, according to the Times.
The Food and Drug Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and other leading health professional organizations recognize that infant formula is the safest, most nutritious, and only recommended feeding option for babies who do not receive breast milk.
Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News.
The American move was apparently an attempt to protect the interests of infant formula manufacturers.
The World Health Organization said it could not comment on exchanges between different delegations, but stressed its support for breastfeeding: "Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival". Breast milk also provides immunity to diseases through antibodies passed from mother to child.
The president's tweet was a direct response to an article published by The New York Times on Sunday, titled "U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials." .
"...[I] t turns out that global health resolution was just one of a few battlefronts in Trump's fight against policies that support breastfeeding, as the administration increasingly aligns itself with the USA infant formula industry". The code urges countries to stop the inappropriate marketing of formula and other substitutes as better for babies and aims to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely - according to the directions, without diluting the formula - when necessary.
Most mothers can breastfeed, but formula is a helpful substitute for women who don't produce enough breast milk.
Health advocates said that such actions by the United States were blackmail and deeply troubling as they hold the world hostage for the sake of corporations. They also imply in their advertising that breastfeeding is what poor women do who don't know better.
For a recent paper, University of California, Berkeley, economist and public-health expert Paul Gertler. and a team of colleagues looked at infant mortality rates in low- and middle-income countries, comparing regions that had access to infant formula to regions that didn't. The US delegates took issue with the nature of the recommendation, and threatened Ecuador with trade measures and the withdrawal of aid if the resolution was not amended. Ecuador quickly dropped its support for the resolution.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said to CNN, "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding".
The Timesnotes 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.
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