Trump Administration Bullied Countries To Make Them Reject The Science On Breastfeeding

Trump Administration Bullied Countries To Make Them Reject The Science On Breastfeeding

Media are reporting on how the US threatened Ecuador with trade sanctions if it did not back off a resolution meant to promote breastfeeding around the world at a Geneva convention this spring for the United Nations' World Health Assembly.

While Ecuador had plans to introduce the initiative, the country later made a decision to drop it after the US reportedly issued threats of economic retaliation.

The New York Times said the US was "embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers" and even threatened Ecuador and other countries with financial retaliation.

Finally, the Russian delegation stepped in as the resolution's sponsor.

- The U.S. opposed a World Health Assembly resolution to encourage breastfeeding because it called for limits on the promotion of infant formula, not because of objections to breastfeeding, President Donald Trump tweeted Monday.

Although the US and many other countries promote a "breast is best" policy, many mothers are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons like medical challenges, insufficient maternity leave, or inability to afford time away from work often required for exclusive breastfeeding.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, in an email to the Times, defended the administration's stance.

With more mothers in developed nations turning to breastfeeding, the Third World is regarded as a potential growth market for infant formula companies. The U.S. provides about 15 percent of WHO's budget, at $845 million.

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American officials allegedly sought to remove the language pushing for global government support of breastfeeding practices and attacked countries that were in favour of it.

World Health Organization representatives when those initiatives were first introduced by a delegation from Ecuador, the New York Times reported on 8 July 2018.

The World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva.

During the same Geneva meeting where the breastfeeding resolution was debated, the United States succeeded in removing statements supporting soda taxes from a document that advises countries grappling with soaring rates of obesity.

The Times said more than a dozen participants from different countries at the assembly confirmed the "showdown over the issue". Taking a break from being an all-purpose bogeyman, Russia, we're told, saved the day and the United States was thwarted.

The United States tried to stop a pro-breastfeeding resolution at the United Nations, but ultimately failed. The American negotiators were successful, however, in removing language that called on the World Health Organization to provide support to member states seeking to halt "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", the delegate said.

Though high quality, safely prepared substitutes can provide adequate nutrition for infants, emphasis on breastfeeding stretches back through decades of concern from health experts and officials that milk-substitute makers were causing harm with their marketing strategies.

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