Call to reform ads for breast milk substitutes

Researchers from the Australian National University looked at advertising of breast milk substitutes in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) and the Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW) between 1950 and 2010.

They found that advertising for breast milk substitutes peaked in 1970 to 1974 in the AWW before the World Health Organization (WHO) code on the marketing of breast milk substitutes was introduced in 1981. 

Advertising reached its lowest point between 1990 and 1994, then increased from four to 23 advertisements between 2005 and 2009.

Toddler foods accounted for 33% of ads, toddler formula accounted for 28% and the other 39% was brand promotion. 

In comparison, advertising in the MJA declined steeply to 1975 and no advertisements were recorded after 1995.

The authors said the data showed the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas (MAIF): Manufacturers and Importers Agreement of 1992 is insufficient to protect