Violations of the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes: prevalence in four countries

The World Health Organisation estimates that 1.5 million babies could be prevented from dying each year if women breast fed their infants (exclusively for about 6 months and until infants were 2 years old). Where a mother uses an alternative to breast milk to feed her baby, it is important that she makes an informed decision and that she has not been pressured by commercial promotions to use a substitute. The international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981 to encourage breast feeding and to protect mothers from pressure to use substitutes for breast milk. At that time one member state (the United States) voted against the code and three abstained (Argentina, Japan, and Korea); by the 1996 World Health Assembly meeting all 191 member states had affirmed their support for the code, its implementation, and the implementation of relevant resolutions. By 1997, 17 countries had adopted all or substantially all of the code’s provisions as legal requirements. Adoption of the code represents the development of an international consensus.
Anecdotal evidence of violations of the code has been presented but no previous studies have used formal sampling techniques.4 This study was designed to measure the prevalence of violations of the code using randomly sampled groups of women, health workers, and health facilities in four cities.
BMJ 1998;316:1117-1122

A teljes cikk a British Medical Journal oldalán található.