The Trump administration has forced the South American country to back down over its support for breastfeeding at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in May, The New York Times reports. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don't believe women should be denied access to formula. Anderson was inspired to write the letter after the United States pushed to weaken the language of a WHO resolution that called on world governments to "protect, promote, and support breastfeeding", a move that some believe is connected to protecting the interests of the U.S. dairy industry.
Somehow things escalated from there into the USA threatening Ecuador--the nation that was introducing the resolution--with "punishing trade measures".
The primary scientific issue according to WHO, backed by a fairly broad scientific consensus, is that infants fed exclusively on breast milk for the first six months of their life face improved health outcomes.
But the World Health Assembly wasn't trying to deny or even limit access to infant formula.
The administration also denied that US officials had threatened trade sanctions in the debate over the breastfeeding resolution.
As part of global nutrition targets, countries who are part of the World Health Organization have vowed to increase rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life to at least 50 percent of mothers by 2025.
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The move was described as "stunning and shameful" by the online group Moms Rising, noted The Guardian, while Lucy Sullivan - from the group 1,000 Days, which promotes nutrition for babies and infants - said on Twitter the issue could be described as "public health versus private profit".
President Trump responded by pointing out that his Administration is not anti-breastfeeding but in favor of giving women more choice-an exquisitely Trumpian way of co-opting the left's script. Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, added in a statement that women who can't breastfeed should not be "stigmatized", but rather "equally supplied with information". One section called on governments to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding", which they wanted taking out. "We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore".
Critics charge that the USA delegation is unduly influenced by lobbyists for formula manufacturers.
"The existence of infant formula is not in question here".
Did the infant-formula industry, which obviously benefits when women don't breastfeed, push the Trump administration to to take its mind-bending stand against encouraging breastfeeding?
Canadian breastfeeding advocates say they're stunned by an especially aggressive USA attempt to water down breastfeeding protections at a spring United Nations meeting. The Ecuadorian delegates acquiesced, and health advocates struggled to find another sponsor for the resolution. Members of the delegation also suggested cutting USA funding for the World Health Organization. The U.S. provides about 15 percent of WHO's budget, at $845 million. While the sales of baby formula have been flat in the West over the last few years, they were on the rise in developing countries.