This spring at the World Health Organization's World Health Assembly, the US delegation opposed Ecuador's resolution to encourage breastfeeding and limit marketing claims about breast milk replacements, the New York Times reported Sunday.
The breastfeeding advocate also went on to address a tweet by US President Donald Trump, in which he referenced the New York Times article as "fake news", stating that the US "strongly supports breastfeeding but we don't believe women should be denied access to formula".
USA delegates pushed for removal of resolution language calling on governments to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding." . When Ecuador refused to water down the resolution as the United States requested, according to the Times, the Trump administration threatened punishing trade measures and withdrawing military aid. The measure was introduced, however, once Russian Federation stepped in.
And breastfeeding 'saves lives, protects babies and mothers against deadly diseases, and leads to better IQ and educational outcomes, ' according to a May report from UNICEF.
The measure was expected to be introduced by Ecuador.
The administration told Ecuador that if it did not pull its resolution, it would respond by cutting military aid and adopting harsh, retaliatory trade measures.
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A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in negotiations on the resolution, defended the US opposition to the measure, saying that it would impede women's access to vital baby formula when breastfeeding is not an option.
Caitlin Oakley, a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement that "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding". She said it wouldn't have denied women access to baby formula. Ecuador quickly dropped its support for the resolution.
The official said, "Women should have access to full and accurate information about breastfeeding", as well as "full information about safe alternatives when breastfeeding is not possible". A recent report found more than 800 violations of the World Health Organization's guidelines for marketing breastmilk substitutes in 79 countries between 2014 and 2017.
Sterken says she was encouraged by how strongly many countries resisted the USA bid, and she praised Canada for doing its part to champion breastfeeding initiatives.
The worldwide infant formula industry, worth $70 billion, is dominated by USA and European countries and has faced plateauing revenue in the developed world in recent years as awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding spreads. The U.S. provides about 15 percent of WHO's budget, at $845 million.
And if the report is true, he said that this incident suggests that when countries do not fall in line with US policy, "they are going to go after them and penalize them economically for doing that". This is why the Infant Nutrition Council of America supports the final World Health Assembly resolution, which acknowledges the need for a sound science and evidence-based approach to infant and young child nutrition, and clearly supports and promotes the benefits of breastfeeding.