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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Effects of Advertising Preschool Milk

Think that the marketing of toddler formula is harmless?  Think again.

I received this message and photo from a fellow breastfeeding mother:
My son is in preschool and they're studying the letter "M" so one of the words they're learning is "milk". I'm really disappointed that the graphic they use for the kids to associate with milk is the one shown in the attached picture. My son wasn't breastfed, but his little brother was and he knows the concept of mommy milk. I feel bad because they could just have easily used a picture of a glass of milk instead of a formula can.

I shared with her that because we grew up in a formula feeding culture, things like these are taken for granted.  It is very disturbing because to be honest, as a singleton, I had a similar point of view.  I was happy to learn from Dr. Cristina Bernardo, Chairman of the Philippine Pediatric Society's Committee on Breastfeeding that they are working together with Bro. Armin Luistro of the Department of Education to revise the K-12 curriculum to include breastfeeding.  Blog post about this to follow.

They say that a picture can explain a thousand words.  So let me share this poster below which explains the disturbing effect of these milk advertisements:

However, I know that there are still naysayers and in fact, there is a mom who commented on my Facebook post about this that formula feeding is a choice.  Further, the only person to be blamed for stealing this formula milk is the mom herself - because formula is expensive and the mom will always choose to breastfeed even if free formula samples are thrown her way. 

I'm sorry to burst your bubble but the latest Euromonitor release (2012) show that "TV is the main source of information as well as the biggest media influencer for baby food products."  How many of these moms who end up stealing formula milk have access to correct breastfeeding advice?  How many have access to TV?  I'm sure you will agree with me that more people have access to TV than correct health information.

During the last Breastfeeding Congress, Dr. Mariella Castillo of the UNICEF gave a very powerful presentation about the Milk Code and how the Philippines fare.  I was able to capture this slide:

It is very clear how influential TV advertisements are on the feeding choices of the families.  Thus, let me throw this question to you.  Do you really think there is "INFORMED CHOICE" when most Filipino families are bombarded with formula milk advertisements tri-media and do not have access to any other health information?

If you haven't yet, I hope you will sign this AVAAZ petition

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