Do formulas for infants make too much promise

Scientists have an investigated into different infant formulas in 15 countries and have advocated for more stringent guidelines regarding nutritional claims.

According to the maker, Danone’s latest infant formula has less emissions footprint than the other formulations.

Researchers have investigated infant formula companies’ claims of nutrition and found that “most of the claims about the health-giving and nutritional properties of breast milk substitutes seem to be based on little or no evidence.”

A group of researchers from Imperial College London, the group has stated that the claims made by the companies have been “controversial” as they say they could make it appear as if baby formulas can be “just as good as breast milk, perhaps even better, without any scientific basis for the claim.”

To conduct the study, the researchers looked at products from 15 countries with different economic and social conditions. The studied countries included: Norway, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and the US.

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Spotlight on Norway

The studied country included Norway, which has a long tradition of breastfeeding infant mothers for a prolonged period during their infancy. Researchers discovered that four of five babies in Norway continue to receive breastmilk at six months old. However, only 2% received breastmilk at all.

“Supportive social arrangements and long parental leave contribute to allowing many mothers in Norway to breastfeed,” says Melanie Rae Simpson, an associate professor at Norway’s University of Science and Technology’s Department of Public Health and Nursing.

“Strict rules for marketing breast milk substitutes mean that advertising doesn’t influence how long women in Norway breastfeed,” explained Simpson.

However, in Norway the country, there remain parents who choose to use infant formulas for feeding their infants, and the research has shown that some recipes “make a lot of promises” and, while “Norwegian claims maybe not be so crazy,” they “could be better.”

“A significant portion of the items available in Norway have at least one claim concerning their benefits for health. Since so many women breastfeed it isn’t as many varieties of infant formula at the grocery stores as other countries that are part of this study.” Simpson said. Simpson.

Researchers found that Norway also has “clear legislation to prevent undocumented claims from being used in connection with breast milk substitutes.” But they have also pointed out that the documents were characterized by the same problems in transparency, independence from industry, and quality of research that the research team observed in other countries.

Overall results

Additionally, the research team analyzed the websites of several companies that manufacture infant formula while looking at the items’ packaging and nutritional claims.

In total, the researchers identified 41 substances related to these claims. However, they also discovered many companies advertising their products without referring to specific ingredients.

In all, the researchers examined 757 items, and 608 contained at least one of the 31 claims regarding diet and wellness.

The researchers also stated that “only 161 of the 608 products referred to scientific research to support their claims”. But only 14 percent of the studies were clinical research done on humans.

“Research” or “research” used by infant formula manufacturers is believed by scientists to be based upon reviews, opinions, and other kinds of research that don’t conform to “high enough quality requirements.”

The study team was supported by the help of Professor Nigel Rollins, Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health at the World Health Organization, who believes the self-regulation process is “clearly not good enough.”

In the future, researchers are calling for strict rules for better product users and avoiding excessive marketing that could adversely affect children.

In the end, the research has identified the need for regulatory authorities from different countries to think about whether they must do something to improve the conditions.

 

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