International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes

Geneva, World Health Organization, 1981. 36 pages. Price: Sw. fr. 3.-. Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish editions

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  • School of Public Health University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024

The resurgence of concern with biological, dyadic feeding of mothers and young children has been a major aspect of recent thinking and practice as a world priority in public health nutrition. As an important result of this, breast feeding has improved considerably in some industrialized countries, such as the U.S.A., Scandinavia, Britain and Australia. However, at the same time, there has unfortunately been a decline in breast feeding in developing countries, particularly in urban areas.

It is well recognized that many factors are involved in this fundamental change, including, for example, unsupportive health services (especially maternity wards), health professionals with little training or knowledge in this field, women working out of the home in salaried employment, etc.

This whole range of issues has been looked into by many groups and was considered at a large scale meeting with representatives from many different groups, including scientists, industry critics and representatives of formula companies, held under the auspices of WHO and UNICEF in Geneva in October 1979.