US threatens nations over world breastfeeding resolution, shocking health officials

  • US threatens nations over world breastfeeding resolution, shocking health officials

US threatens nations over world breastfeeding resolution, shocking health officials

President Donald Trump is blasting The New York Times for what he calls a "fake" story that reported the United States has been accused of "blackmail" after it threatened to cut aid to Ecuador and other poor countries who backed a resolution encouraging breastfeeding.

A spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) told the Times that US delegates objected to the resolution because it placed "unnecessary hurdles" in front of women who choose not to breastfeed, and "stigmatizes" formula-feeding-a claim physicians rejected on social media.

Ecuador was set to introduce a resolution based on that research, but as more than a dozen worldwide representatives confirmed to the Times, American delegates threatened the smaller nation with cuts to military aid and reduced trade deals if they went forward with the proposal.

But more than a dozen participants from several countries-most requesting anonymity out of fear of United States retaliation-told the Times that the American officials surprised health experts and fellow delegates alike by fiercely opposing the resolution.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed for at least six months, but also noted that those younger than that "get everything they need from breast milk or formula". Universal adoption of breastfeeding in low- and middle-income countries could prevent the death of an estimated 823,000 children under two years old, according to a study by the Australian National University.

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", the spokesperson said. Milk from a mother to a child is also nutritionally specific.

The Times says the US delegation opposed the measure, which was widely expected to be adopted. Anderson is not alone in her sentiment that the United States government opposed the resolution to bolster the dairy-based infant formula industry.

But the World Health Assembly wasn't trying to deny or even limit access to infant formula. The Department of Health and Human Services has since responded, saying the U.S delegation was advocating for a variety of feeding options because some women are unable to breastfeed. "They should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies".

The Trump administration shocked global health officials when it pushed back on decades of scientific research that recognized breast milk as the healthiest option for babies. 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. He said his report is based on interviews with more than a dozen participants in the talks, and "many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States". And the rate of women who said they continued breastfeeding at six months, consistent with recommendations from the World Health Organization, rose from 42 percent to 52 percent by 2016.

The U.S. stance on the health issue was enough to draw heated reaction from a number of progressive-leaning websites.