Health concerns about global baby formula boom
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.
“Competition among companies selling formula is also reaching fever pitch. We estimate that the industry’s global marketing spend exceeded $US4.48 billion in 2014, a figure comparable with the World Health Organization’s annual budget.
“The decision to breast feed or formula feed should be an informed choice made in dialogue with a health professional, not by the marketing of a formula company.”
The research examined the growth in formula sales worldwide. It found sales grew by 41 per cent from 5.5 kilograms to 7.8 kilograms per infant/child between 2008 and 2013, a figure predicted to increase to 10.8 kilograms by 2018.