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Ban social media promotion of breast milk substitutes, Lancet


British medical journal, The Lancet has called for a robust advertising regulation and banning social media promotion covering all milk products for children up to 3 years.

In its latest issue, the journal has said that regulation of the marketing of breast milk substitutes is a cornerstone of global action on breastfeeding. The International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes was drafted in 1981 amid widespread concern about the advertising and promotion of infant formula, particularly in settings where mothers lacked access to the clean drinking water and sterilisation equipment needed to safely prepare formula milk. The Code prohibits direct advertising of breast milk substitutes to mothers, claims that formula milk provides health benefits, and gifts or free supplies to health-care workers and facilities.

A new report by WHO, UNICEF and, the International Baby Food Action Network summarises the status of international implementation of the Code. Encouragingly, 135 of 194 countries in the analysis had at least some legal measures in place, compared with 103 countries in 2011. However, only 39 countries have comprehensive legislation covering all aspects of the Code, it says.

Strikingly, it is high-income countries (including the USA, Australia, and much of western Europe) and middle-income countries such as China that have the fewest legal protections—and some of the lowest breastfeeding rates, particularly beyond 6 months. Meanwhile, many poorer countries lack the resources to effectively implement, enforce, and monitor their existing laws, the journal says.

 The Indian law prohibits advertising of breast milk substitutes but the law is not applicable on online advertising and social media promotion. "

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