New research finds baby milk formula exacerbates obesity. Industry partnership spins the new formulas as ‘closer to breastmilk’ breakthrough

Baby Milk Action Press release

The results of two studies, the EU Childhood Obesity Project (CHOP) and the Early Nutrition Programming Project (EARNEST) (1) being presented at a Congress in Munich this week, show that the composition of formulas on the European market has played a significant role in the exacerbation of childhood obesity, confirming what WHO and many health bodies have been saying for many years that breastfeeding provides an ideal window of opportunity for obesity prevention and may help in the development of taste receptors and appetite control. (2)

The studies have been part-funded by the European Commission, but have also had substantial input from the baby food manufacturer, Danone. Nestlé and NUMICO (now a Danone subsidiary) are also listed on the EU website as partners and all are sponsors of the Munich Congress. This baby food industry involvement raises many ethical problems, not least in the way the results are being communicated and used and the ethics of recruiting newborn babies for such studies.