Search This Blog

Monday, May 31, 2010

Historical data between vaccines and death rates

I got "into it" again this weekend with someone online about vaccines.  They were trying to claim that vaccines are the reason that diseases like measles, mumps, scarlet fever and small pox have all but disappeared (although they avoided the topic of polio like the plague...).  and low and behold, another friend who knew nothing about the discussion sent me this link this morning!

Unfortunately, the graphs in the article are not fitting properly on my blog page (one of these day's I'll figure out how to fix that, lol), but if you go to the original article (link below) you can see by the graphs that both Measles and Pertussis deaths had almost completely disappeared by the time the vaccines were introduced.

Here is a link to another site with several more graphs showing the decline of both measles and pertussis as well as several other diseases for which vaccines were never used. The reason that deaths from all of these diseases drastically in decline is because of the changes in health care and life style in the general populous- better drugs to deal with secondary infections and to control symptoms, better hygiene- both in hospitals and in the average house hold, better balanced diets with higher amounts of vitamins and minerals to boost immunities, and a more knowledgeable population with access to health care and medication.  These things are what drastically reduced the death toll from measles, etc.... NOT vaccines.



Historic Data Shows Vaccines Not Key in Declines in Death from Disease



Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 14 December 2009
Many of us have a picture of the 1800s that has been colored by a myriad of filters that have led us to a nostalgic and romantic view of that era. We picture a time where gentleman callers came to call upon a well-dressed lady in a finely furnished parlor. We imagine a time where people leisurely drifted down a river on a paddle wheel riverboat while sipping mint juleps and a time of more elegant travel aboard a steam train traveling through the countryside. We picture an elegant woman dressed in a long flowing gown leaving a sleek horse drawn carriage with the aid of a well-dressed man in a top hat. We think of those times where life was simple, ordered, in a near utopian world free of the many woes that plague modern society.
But if we remove those filters and cast a more objective light upon that time a different view emerges. Now imagine a world where workplaces had no health, safety, or minimum wage laws. It was a time where people put in 12 to 16 hours a day at the most tedious menial labor. Imagine bands of children roaming the streets out of control because their parents are laboring long days. Picture the city of New York surrounded not by suburbs, but by rings of smoldering garbage dumps and shantytowns. Imagine cities where hogs, horses, and dogs and their refuse were commonplace in the streets. Many infectious diseases were rampant throughout the world and in particular in the larger cities. This is not a description of the Third World, but was a large portion of America and other western cities only a century or so ago.

Our perceptions of history encompass a lot of willful rejection of knowledge. It is easier and more convenient to wax nostalgically rather than acknowledge an uncomfortable reality. We insist on creating a more pleasant historical illusion, but by doing so we cloud a historical issue in a way that promotes a bad misunderstanding of the past, and has every potential to result in bad misunderstandings of the future.
These historic points show that infectious diseases were a constant and deadly threat during these times. England was the country that early in 1838 began to keep statistics on causes of death and is the best source to find out the devastating impact of these infectious diseases. Using this raw data a number of graphs were generated to understand these plagues.


Measles was one of the very potent infectious killers. As the graph clearly shows deaths were rampant throughout the 1800s and then began a rapid decline and virtually became a relatively benign disease by the mid 1900s causing very few deaths. By the time the measles vaccine was introduced approximately in 1968 the death rate for measles had fallen by over 99%.

Dangerous delivery shows peril of multiple C-sections

Yet another article pointing out the dangers of multiple Caesarean Section surgeries.   But what is a mother to do once she's already had a previous single Caesarean Section and now suddenly she unable to find a doctor or hospital that will allow a TOL (Trial Of Labour) to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean section) birth?  Or maybe she finds a doctor that still allows VBAC's after a single previous C/S, but the OB/Hospital throws up so many rules and regulations and interferes with so many medical interventions that a VBAC become insurmountable and she ends up undergoing a second C/S.

Two Caesarean Sections, two uterine scars.

What if she wants more children?  NOW What?????  As a woman who spent 4 months searching for a midwife to support her wish to have a VBA2C I KNOW the stress.  And that was in Canada!  Imagine being in an area of the US where they have banned VBAC births altogether!  So what does a mother do when she wants to have more children only to find out that that very first Caesarean Section has now doomed her to surgical births from now on.  What does a couple do when they want and plan on having a big family, only to discover that each surgical birth will put her and her unborn baby at greater risk- risk of haemorrhage, respiratory  arrest, hysterectomy (which instantly ends her ability to ever have another child), and even death.

We know the risks that come with Caesarean Section surgeries, the studies are very clear and unquestionable.... yet still Doctors are cutting women open for 1 out of 4, and some places 1 out of 3 births!!!  IS NO ONE LISTENING?

Full disclosure.  I have a very hard time believing that every single woman who has had a C/S has been given a full disclosure of the FULL risks of a surgical birth- not just the risk for that birth, but the risks for every single birth after that surgery!! 

I spent 4 months searching for a care provider to have a VBA2C- which ended in another caesarean section.  I search for even longer to have my VBA3C.  I had to tell the hospital that I refused a C/S, sign a billion forms, and had to fight tooth and nail every step of the way, but I finally did it!!  But there are hundreds and thousands of mothers out there that are not as fortunate as I was.  The only way to get out from under the knife is to fight for your Rights, and for the Rights of your sisters, friends, cousins and neighbours.



Dangerous delivery shows peril of multiple C-sections

The worst surgical case of my residency came when we delivered my patient's baby by cesarean - her ninth cesarean birth. The baby came out fine, but for the mother we suspected one of most feared complications in obstetrics - that her placenta had burrowed deep into the muscle of the uterus.
To get oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, the placenta needs to attach just a few millimeters deep into the uterus. We worried that hers had gone much farther and might eat through the entire thickness of the uterus, keeping it from shrinking back to its normal size after delivery and causing a massive hemorrhage.
We gave a gentle tug on the umbilical cord. Usually the placenta peels off with such gentle pulling, but hers remained stuck - an ominous sign.
The case points out a fundamental truth about surgical delivery: a first cesarean for most women leads to a cesarean with every pregnancy. And while a first section is quick, easy to perform, and rarely complicated, each repeat surgery carries greater risk.
More and more women are finding themselves on the C-section path. Almost one in three babies was delivered by cesarean in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available, an increase of more than 50 percent from a decade earlier.
At the same time, it's becoming harder for mothers to avoid repeat surgery. The number of vaginal births after a C-section fell by two-thirds, to fewer than 10 percent, over the same time period. This year, the National Institutes of Health estimated that since 1996, one-third of hospitals and one-half of doctors who offered vaginal births after a C-section no longer do so.
"There can be tremendous morbidity after three or four or five prior cesarean deliveries," said Gary Cunningham, an OB-GYN professor and former department chair at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, who chaired the NIH panel.
"Women need to be counseled appropriately and accurately so that they can make an informed decision," Cunningham said. "But this doesn't do much good if she cannot find an obstetrician or hospital that will allow a trial of labor."
Repeat C-sections pose more risk than a first section for many reasons. One factor concerns anatomy. When a doctor performs a first cesarean, the layers of tissue look and feel very different from each other. These visual cues and textures guide the surgeon, indicating exactly where to cut.
The surgery is simple: the surgeon cuts, spreads, and pokes, layer by layer, until reaching the baby. The surgeon first opens the skin a few centimeters above the pubic bone. The fat underneath easily gives way until the connecting fascia is reached. The tough, fibrous fascia, which holds the intestines in the abdomen, is cut at the midline and opened in either direction. The beefy abdominal muscles beneath are spread.
Finally, the glossy peritoneum, the last layer of the abdomen, is entered, and only the uterus lies between the doctor and the baby. In a term patient, the maroon, swollen uterus, flanked by finger-size veins, fills almost the whole abdomen, pushing the intestines up. The surgeon moves the bladder out of the way, cuts the lower uterus open, and is met by a baby's foot, face, elbow, or behind, depending on how the baby is positioned.
The surgeon loses the advantage of good anatomy after the first section. The tissue undergoes scarring, toughens, and blends together as it heals. The variations in color and texture disappear. The intestines and bowel sometimes stick to the healing wound, putting them in harm's way the next time surgery is performed.
These changes increase the chances of an unexpected injury. "Her belly was cement," we'd say to one another during residency after a tough section.
A study from 2006 published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology compared C-section complications in more than 30,000 patients. Risks of requiring a large blood transfusion, incurring a bladder injury, needing to be on a ventilator, and ending up in intensive care all increased significantly with the number of sections after the first.
The study also showed greater risk for my patient's complication. Scarring on the inside of the uterus after a cesarean causes the placenta to attach abnormally in future pregnancies. During a first section, the risk of this complication was less than 1 in 400. After a sixth section, the risk ballooned to more than 1 in 15.
So we knew the risks my patient faced from her ninth cesarean and prepared the best we could. We matched extra blood, placed additional IV lines, and arranged for expert surgeons to back us up.
But with my patient's placenta stuck and bleeding, only one option remained: removing the entire uterus with the placenta still attached. Because the pregnant uterus is large, swollen, and filled with blood, a hysterectomy after a delivery is very dangerous and performed only as a last resort.
By the time we finished the surgery, blood covered the floor. Blood filled suction buckets, and saturated our sterile gowns and drapes. Blood-soaked sponges piled up in the corner.
My patient lost three times the entire blood volume of a normal person, sixteen liters in all. Only a massive transfusion kept her alive. Anesthesiologists pumped in 51 units of red blood cells and seven six-packs of platelets.
Vessels deep in her pelvis refused to stop bleeding, and instead of closing her, we packed her abdomen with surgical towels, hoping the pressure would stanch the slow, steady flow. She left the operating room and headed to the intensive-care unit with her abdomen still open.
After a reoperation the following morning and days in the ICU, she stabilized and slowly recovered.
With a first cesarean, the up-front costs - a few more days in the hospital, a longer recovery - may seem reasonable. Only in retrospect can the true costs become apparent.
HERE to read the original article

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Discovery Channel: Baby crying in uterio

Well, is this not the proof that babies are not happy being assaulted with Ultrasound waves?  Discovery Channel shows a video of a foetus crying in the womb during an Ultrasound exam.
Discovery Channel Video   (sorry, I can't figure out how to put the video here!)

  Honestly, it might just be that I'm struggling with the post-partum blues, but it made me cry to watch it.  Seeing that tiny baby silently crying in reaction to the horrifying noise of the ultrasound....

Yet, still ultrasounds are treated with a cavalier attitude.  No one warns new parents of the risks of ultrasound waves on their babies.  Hell, its a rare thing to even find a medical professional that will admit that there is any repercussions to ultrasounds even thought many medical organizations are now warning that unnecessary ultrasounds should be avoided.  I write further on this in my article  Are They Safe? The Risks of Prenatal Ultra Sounds

The FDA warned in 2004: "ultrasound is a form of energy, and even at low levels, laboratory studies have shown it can produce physical effect in tissue, such as jarring vibrations and a rise in temperature." This is consistent with research conducted in 2001 in which an ultrasound transducer aimed directly at a miniature hydrophone placed in a woman's uterus recorded sound "as loud as a subway train coming into the station."

...a subway train coming into the station?!  Is it any wonder that the baby was crying?!

Yet regardless of FDA (and other major medical associations) cautions about the use of ultrasounds, hundreds of thousands of expecting parents are still flocking to clinics and private ultrasound "stores" to have 3D videos and pictures taken of their babies in the womb, sometimes for as long as 45 minutes to an hour. To add to the cautions, there are no national or international standards for the output characteristics of ultrasound equipment. The result is the shocking situation described in a commentary in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, in which ultrasound machines in use on pregnant women range in output power from extremely high to extremely low, all with equal effect. The commentary reads, "If the machines with the lowest powers have been shown to be diagnostically adequate, how can one possibly justify exposing the patient to a dose 5,000 times greater?". It goes on to urge government guidelines on the output of ultrasound equipment and for legislation making it mandatory for equipment manufacturers to state the output characteristics.

...So we see a baby crying, but is anyone listening ?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Update: Nestles "Creating Shared Value Forum"

A quick update on the Nestle "Creating Shared Value Forum" that I posted about earlier this week
LIVE: Nestle Forum - put your questions in NOW‏!!!

According to Mike Brady of Baby Milk Action, not a single question regarding the marketing of Nestles infant formulas was answered.

Send a message to Nestle and spread the word

All postings regarding Nestlé's marketing of baby milk were censored at the company's Creating Shared Value Forum yesterday, so with the management refusing to engage with the public, we need to increase the number of messages going to Nestlé. Baby Milk Action is making this easier with new features on this website. You will find you can now easily share links to pages of interest with your friends. Try it out on our new film clip about Nestlé's strategy of promoting baby milk with the claim that it 'protects' babies, even though it knows babies fed on baby milk are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and, in conditions of poverty, more likely to die. The page includes a form for sending a message to Nestlé calling for it to stop this practice. See: http://info.babymilkaction.org/news/campaignblog260510
When you've sent your message, why not pass on the link using the 'share this link' feature on the left, or the link at the bottom of the page, where you can add a personalised message. You can also share the page on Facebook.

HERE to read the entire article at Baby Milk Action

So please share this information far and wide.  Send Nestle- and the media- a message that we will not be ignored, nor will we go away!!

World Health Assembly adopts two landmark Resolutions on the promotion of junk foods and baby foods

I just received this news from Mike Brady of Baby Milk Action.  While it is very exciting, and the best new resolutions to be passed in the past 30 years since the original launch of the World Health Organization's (WHO)International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, it still is not LAW.  Much works needs to be done to encourage Canada and the US to adopt these amendments and to put "The Code" into federal laws to protect our children and families from unethical marketing of Infant Formulas and baby foods. Francesco Branca,  WHO,  Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, said:
"We look forward to an increased commitment of governments and civil society to enforce the Resolution, developed thanks to the leadership of the government of Peru and other countries who have successfully tackled nutrition challenges".
WHO Secretariat Report,stated: "Breastfeeding is today the single most effective preventive intervention for improving the survival and health of children"  

"-Mindful of the fact that implementation of the global strategy for infant and young child feeding and its operational targets requires strong political commitment and a comprehensive approach, including strengthening of health systems and communities with particular emphasis on the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, and careful monitoring of the effectiveness of the interventions used;
-Recognizing that the improvement of exclusive breastfeeding practices, adequate and timely complementary feeding, along with continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond, could save annually the lives of 1.5 million children under five years of age.
-Aware that multisectoral food and nutrition policies are needed for the successful scaling up of evidence-based safe and effective nutrition interventions;
-Recognizing the need for comprehensive national policies on infant and young child feeding that are well integrated within national strategies for nutrition and child survival;
-Convinced that it is time for governments, civil society and the international community to renew their commitment to promoting the optimal feeding of infants and young children and to work together closely for this purpose;"
The WHO resolutions go on to URGE countries to:

  -to develop and/or strengthen legislative, regulatory and/or other effective measures to control the marketing of breastmilk substitutes in order to give effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly;
- to end inappropriate promotion of food for infants and young children and to ensure that nutrition and health claims shall not be permitted for foods for infants and young children, except where specifically provided for, in relevant Codex Alimentarius standards or national legislation.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi of South Africa stated last week:  "I think they (infant formulas) must be banned altogether, throughout the whole world," he said, adding that he might propose the idea during discussion of the millennium development goals (MDGs)at the World Health Assembly. He knew that he would shock people with his proposed ban, but formulas were "no different from skin lightening creams", which are banned in South Africa.

Now is the time for us to bring pressure onto the governments to finally make the WHO Code into laws and to enforce those laws to protect our next generations. Leading developed countries like Canada and the US need to set the example for the rest of the world.  How sad is it that several  impoverished African countries  (I'm currently trying to find my list, and will post it as soon as I do) have instituted The Code into laws, yet Canadian and American governments are still allowing the formula manufacturers to control them. Unfortunately, in our western society, money talks.... and there are no rich companies that champion Breastmilk.



World Health Assembly adopts two landmark Resolutions on the promotion of junk foods and baby foods
21st May 2010
Palais des Nations,  Geneva 

Tonight, 29 years after the adoption of the landmark  International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, the World Health Assembly adopted two new historic Resolutions which should have long lasting impact on child health.

First a Resolution proposed by Norway called for Member States to implement a set of recommendations which aim to reduce the impact on children of the marketing of 'junk' foods.  They call on Governments to restrict marketing,  including in 'settings where children gather' such as schools and to avoid conflicts of interest.

The 'junk food code' (1) as many refer to it - was closely followed by a Resolution on Infant and Young Child Nutrition, which also highlighted the impact of commercial promotion  of baby foods on the health and survival of children, including the rise in childhood obesity, which is now known to be closely linked with artificial feeding, (2)

The baby food Resolution was debated over three days and tackled several controversial issues including,  firstly the need to protect promote and support breastfeeding in emergencies and the need to minimise the risks of artificial by ensuring that any required breastmilk substitutes  are purchased, distributed  and used according to strict criteria.  Member States were urged to follow the  Operational Guidance on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies for Emergency Relief Staff. (3)

Secondly -  a policy change  that has been resisted  by the baby food industry for three decades  - that there should be an 'end to all forms of inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children and that nutrition and health claims should not be permitted on these foods'. The Resolution should stop the widespread use of claims about better IQ, better eyesight or protection from infection, which are so misleading to parents. The misleading advertising and labelling of baby foods also entices parents to use them before recommended age of 6 months.

The baby food industry were out in force to witness as Member State after Member State highlighted their continued irresponsible and inappropriate promotion.  Thailand,  expressed "deep concern over the ineffectiveness of voluntary measures' and called for legislative measures to control the marketing."  The Delegate of Swaziland, Thulani Maphosa,  highlighted his country's concern about the unethical sponsorship of health workers by baby food companies and the need to address conflicts of interest.
Francesco Branca,  WHO,  Director of Nutrition for Health and Development, said: "The World Health Assembly has recognized the importance of nutrition for the achievement of the health Millennium Development Goals and the need to scale up nutrition interventions but first of all exclusive breastfeeding. We look forward to an increased commitment of governments and civil society to enforce the Resolution, developed thanks to the leadership of the government of Peru and other countries who have successfully tackled nutrition challenges".
 Dr Elizabeth Mason, Director of Child and Adolescent Health said,  " We are very excited about  this Resolution and the renewed commitment for  the protection of breastfeeding and will continue its support to Member States on this very important issue."

Other Resolutions, on the Millennium Development Goals and the Prevention Pneumonia, adopted today,  recognised the core importance of breastfeeding in reducing child mortality.  As the WHO Secretariat Report,stated: "Breastfeeding is today the single most effective preventive intervention for improving the survival and health of children"


Below and Attached  is an unedited version of the new Resolution which contains some minor mistakes. The Official  text will be on the WHO website early next week : http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_wha63.html



1 Marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children.

2 Children who are breastfed are at reduced risk of obesity.77 Studies have found that the likelihood of obesity is 22% lower among children who were breastfed.78 The strongest effects were observed among adolescents, meaning that the obesity-reducing benefits of breastfeeding extend many years into a child’s life.Another study determined that the risk of becoming overweight was reduced by 4% for each month of breastfeeding.79 This effect plateaued after nine months of breastfeeding.  SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY  WITHIN A GENERATION  White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President   May 2010 http://www.letsmove.gov/tfco_fullreport_may2010.pdf

3  Operational Guidance on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies for Emergency relief staff. V 2.1) (www.ennonline.net/resources/6

For more information contact:
Patti Rundall, OBE, Policy Director, Baby Milk Action  prundall@babymilkaction.org   +44 (0) 7786 523493
Annelies Allain,  Director, International Code Documentation Centre  annelies.allain@gmail.com
Dr Arun Gupta, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India: arun@ibfanasia.org


SIXTY-THIRD WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY WHA63.23
Agenda item 11.6 21 May 2010
Infant and young child nutrition


The Sixty-third World Health Assembly,
Having considered the report on infant and young child nutrition;
Recalling resolutions WHA33.32, WHA34.22, WHA35.26, WHA37.30, WHA39.28, WHA41.11, WHA43.3, WHA45.34, WHA46.7, WHA47.5, WHA49.15 and WHA54.2, WHA 55.25, WHA58.32, WHA59.21, WHA61.20 on infant and young child nutrition, and on nutrition and HIV/AIDS and the Codex Alimentarius Guidelines for use of nutrition and health claims;
Conscious that achieving the Millennium Development Goals will require the reduction of maternal and child malnutrition;
Aware that worldwide malnutrition accounts for 11% of the global burden of disease, leading to long-term poor health and disability and poor educational and developmental outcomes; that worldwide 186 million children are stunted  and 20 million suffer from the most deadly form of severe acute malnutrition each year; and that nutritional risk factors, including underweight, suboptimal breastfeeding and vitamin and mineral deficiencies, particularly of vitamin A, iron, iodine and zinc, are responsible for 3.9 million deaths (35% of total deaths) and 144 million disability-adjusted life years (33% of total disability-adjusted life years) in children less than five years old;
Aware that countries are faced with increasing public health problems posed by the double burden of malnutrition (both undernutrition and overweight), with its negative later-life consequences;
Acknowledging that 90% of stunted children live in 36 countries and that children under two years of age are most affected by undernutrition;
Recognizing that the promotion of breast-milk substitutes and some commercial foods for infants and young children undermines progress in optimal infant and young child feeding;
Mindful of the challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the difficulties in formulating appropriate policies for infant and young child feeding, and concerned that food assistance does not meet the nutritional needs of young children infected by HIV;
Concerned that in emergencies, many of which occur in countries not on track to attain Millennium Development Goal 4 and which include situations created by the effects of climate change, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, illness and death;
Recognizing that national emergency preparedness plans and international emergency responses do not always cover protection, promotion and support of optimal infant and young child feeding;
Expressing deep concern over persistent reports of violations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes by some infant food manufacturers and distributors with regard to promotion targeting mothers and health-care workers;
Expressing further concern over reports of the ineffectiveness of measures, particularly voluntary measures, to ensure compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in some countries;
Aware that inappropriate feeding practices and their consequences are major obstacles to attaining sustainable socioeconomic development and poverty reduction;
Concerned about the vast numbers of infants and young children who are still inappropriately fed and whose nutritional status, growth and development, health and survival are thereby compromised;
Mindful of the fact that implementation of the global strategy for infant and young child feeding and its operational targets requires strong political commitment and a comprehensive approach, including strengthening of health systems and communities with particular emphasis on the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, and careful monitoring of the effectiveness of the interventions used;
Recognizing that the improvement of exclusive breastfeeding practices, adequate and timely complementary feeding, along with continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond, could save annually the lives of 1.5 million children under five years of age.
Aware that multisectoral food and nutrition policies are needed for the successful scaling up of evidence-based safe and effective nutrition interventions;
Recognizing the need for comprehensive national policies on infant and young child feeding that are well integrated within national strategies for nutrition and child survival;
Convinced that it is time for governments, civil society and the international community to renew their commitment to promoting the optimal feeding of infants and young children and to work together closely for this purpose;
Convinced that strengthening of national nutrition surveillance is crucial in implementing effective nutrition policies and scaling up interventions,
1. URGES Member States:
(1) to increase political commitment in order to prevent and reduce malnutrition in all its forms;
(2) to strengthen and expedite the sustainable implementation of the global strategy for infant and young child feeding including emphasis on giving effect to the aim and principles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and the implementation of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative;
(3)  to develop and/or strengthen legislative, regulatory and/or other effective measures to control the marketing of breastmilk substitutes in order to give effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly;
(4) to end inappropriate promotion of food for infants and young children and to ensure that nutrition and health claims shall not be permitted for foods for infants and young children, except where specifically provided for, in relevant Codex Alimentarius standards or national legislation;
(5) to develop or review current policy frameworks addressing the double burden of malnutrition and to include in the framework childhood obesity and food security and allocate adequate human and financial resources to ensure their implementation;
(6) to scale up interventions to improve infant and young child nutrition in an integrated manner  with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding and timely, safe and appropriate complementary feeding as core interventions; the implementation of interventions for the prevention and management of severe malnutrition; and the targeted control of vitamin and mineral deficiencies;
(7) to consider and implement, as appropriate the revised principles and recommendations on infant feeding in the context of HIV, issued by WHO in 2009, in order to address the infant feeding dilemma for HIV-infected mothers and their families while ensuring protection, promotion and support of exclusive and sustained breastfeeding for the general population;
(8)  to ensure that national and international preparedness plans and emergency responses follow the evidence-based Operational Guidance for Emergency Relief Staff and Programme Managers  on infant and young child feeding in emergencies, which includes the protection, promotion and support for optimal breastfeeding, and the need to minimize the risks of artificial feeding, by ensuring that any required breast-milk substitutes are purchased, distributed and used according to strict criteria;
(9) to include the strategies referred to in subparagraph 1(4) above in comprehensive maternal and child health services and support the aim of universal coverage and principles of primary health care, including strengthening health systems as outlined in resolution WHA62.12;
(10) to strengthen nutrition surveillance systems and improve use and reporting of agreed Millennium Development Goals indicators in order to monitor progress;
(11) to implement the WHO Child Growth Standards by their full integration into child health programmes;
(12) to implement the measures for prevention of malnutrition as specified in the WHO strategy for community-based management of severe acute malnutrition,  most importantly improving water and sanitation systems and hygiene practices to protect children against communicable disease and infections;
2. CALLS UPON infant food manufacturers and distributors to comply fully with their responsibilities under the  International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions;
3. REQUESTS the Director-General:
(1) to strengthen the evidence base on effective and safe nutrition actions to counteract the public health effects of the double burden of malnutrition, and to describe good practices for successful implementation;
(2) to mainstream nutrition in all WHO’s health policies and strategies and confirm the presence of essential nutrition actions, including integration of the revised principles and recommendations on infant feeding in the context of HIV, issued by WHO in 2009, in the context of the reform of primary health care;
(3) to continue and strengthen the existing mechanisms for collaboration with other United Nations agencies and international organizations involved in the process of ensuring improved nutrition including clear identification of leadership, division of labour and outcomes;
(4) to support Member States, on request, in expanding their nutritional interventions related to the double burden of malnutrition, monitoring and evaluating impact, strengthening or establishing effective nutrition surveillance systems, and implementing the WHO Child Growth Standards, and the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative.
(5)   to support Member States, on request, in their efforts to develop and/or strengthen legislative, regulatory or other effective measures to control marketing of breast-milk substitutes;
(6) to develop a comprehensive implementation plan on infant and young child nutrition as a critical component of a global multisectoral nutrition framework for preliminary discussion at the Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly and for final delivery at the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly, through the Executive Board and after broad consultation with Member States.
Eighth plenary meeting,  21 May 2010
A63/VR/8

[1] Document A63/9.
[1] Document CAC/GL/23.
[1] World Health Statistics, May 2010.
[1] Available online at http://www.ennonline.net/resources/6.
[1] Community-based management of severe acute malnutrition: a joint statement by the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme, the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Geneva, WHO, 2007.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When Activism becomes Detractivism

Why oh why can't we all just get along?  When it comes to fiery debates, there doesn't seem to be a topic more incendiary  than "Parenting"... well, maybe religion and politics, but still, you know what I mean right?  I have never understood the need for people to bash other groups that don't follow your beliefs to the letter.  We are all different people and we all make the best choices we can according to our own experiences, knowledge, and background.  Are those choices always right?  Are those choices always guilt-free? Are those choices always painless?  No, they aren't.  We are human, not omnipotent.  We can not know all the answers in advance.  We can not always make the "right" decision.  And we can not be perfect parents 100% of the time.

WE try our best.  We do our best. Then we live with the decisions we have made.

Someone once told me that no one can give you guilt. No one can force you to feel guilty.  Guilt is an emotion that we generate within our selves, and we can choose what we want to do with that emotion.  We can wallow in self pity, we can paint ourselves the martyr and point fingers at everyone else, we can rail at society for forcing these emotions upon us...
...or we can accept it, use it to guide our future steps and start healing from the hurt it has caused.

The choices someone else has made for their family and their children and themselves is not about "us".  Even if we have spent countless hours advising and educating someone, they still are responsible for making the final decision for themselves.  If they make a decision that we don't agree with, well..... that it their prerogative and THEY have to live with the final outcome.

Why is it that people feel the need to resort to insults and swearing? I realize that parenting involves a huge amount of decisions and most parents base their choices on their own past and the influences of their family and friends. AND that nothing cause more debate than the choices in parenting that each mother and father has to make. Where there is discussion, there is debate. where there is debate, there is arguments….. FINE! I get it.

But why do people who have made their decisions feel the need to scream and throw tantrums and play junior highschool school yard games?!?

OK I’m goign to be blunt and just come out and say this:

Why is it that people who make choices that are NOT based on facts and research are the worst offenders when it comes to mud slinging?! Be it Breastfeeding and formula feeding, circumcision debates, natural birthing vs interventions and elective C/Sections, CIO or AP parenting……. I’m sorry but the facts are the facts. If you don’t want to know the facts, or are happy in the decisions you’ve made Regardless of the facts, then fine- it’s your decision to make. But don’t come screaming after others, calling names and swearing and making horrifying allegations just because they are stating the facts!!!! If you’re satisfied with your decisions then be satisfied that you're doing what you want to do. But don’t call me a breast nazi, because I’m posting information about breastfeeding that is based on solid facts that are accepted world wide by every single major health organization!!

We all make “mistakes”.  W all make decisions based on the information (or lack there of) that we have at the time. If it turns out to be wrong, well we just have to deal with it and do what we can to rectify the situation, if possible. I started my eldest daughter Quinlin on baby cereal at 3.5 months!!! Why? because a health nurse told me to. So I did. Now I know it wasn’t the right thing to do and yes, I feel guilty that I didn’t research it better before going ahead. But I don’t turn around and get defensive and insult people who talk about Baby Led Weaning!!!

…..If you’re feeling guilty because you know that you didn’t make the right decision, then don’t yell at me. Own up to it and accept it. and make changes that will ease your guilt. Deal with it. Don't sling mud at others just because you can’t face up to your own mistakes or poor decisions.

And if someone makes a decision that goes against your grain, well, it's their decision to make.  Yelling and pointing fingers is NOT going to make them change their decision.  I don't know about you, but I'm stubborn: if someone starts ranting at me and telling me I did it all wrong, there is a good chance that I'll embrace my mistake even further and try to justify it even more.

I wrote an article for Natural Mothering a while ago on this topic.  Whenever I start to get hot under the collar over a burning debate I'll re-read this article just to remind my self that how I respond to the debate/argument/question, may have a far greater influence depending on how I reply.

 

When Activism becomes Detractivism edit
Written by Dani Arnold-McKenny   
Everyone has something that they are passionate about. Everyone has a cause that owns a special corner of their heart. Whether its saving the rain forests, freeing Tibet, going "green", equal rights for women, pro abortion, anti abortion, pro capital punishment, anti capital punishment, etc , ........Everyone has at least one thing that they are willing to stand up for, that they will jump into the fray with both (metaphorical) fists swinging, debating their passion till the wee hours of the morning.

You are right. You know you're right. And you will defend your cause/choice/moral obligation regardless of how many oppose you, or how loudly they bellow, because you have the passion that drives you to do so.

Now obviously some causes are considered more worthy than others to the average person on the street. Some causes are such social absolutes, that no one in their right mind would ever take the opposing chair against it in a debate. No one is going to disagree that someone in a wheelchair should have access to the public library. Or refute that all children deserve a roof over the heads, food on the table, access to education and medical care. These are definitely safe causes to champion: easy, non confrontational and completely acceptable.

But what if your passion is for a something that isn't so non confrontational? What if that passion that fills that special corner of your heart is one side of a heated debate, waiting to erupt into a boiling frenzy just by openly declaring it to others? What then? Will you enter into the grand melee carrying your colours aloft and brandishing your cause with sharpened words, leaving a field of the fallen in your wake, regardless of their cries for mercy (or at least for a moment to explain)? Or are you the enlightened one that sits with infinite patience, willing to speak the words of reason with an aura of calm that might quiet even the most boisterous of opposers?

The two sides of this coin can be likened to Vinegar and honey: One of them will catch the flies.

Passion burns brightest in the middle of a heated debate. And it can be beautiful in its eloquence, or scarred and ugly in its words of condemnation and accusation. Is the message getting lost because the flame is blinding? Is the message getting lost because the fire it possesses is burning everyone it comes in contact with
I am an advocate for Breastfeeding and Natural Childbirth Education. And let me tell you, nothing lights the fires of debate like both of these topics. Breastfeeding Advocates are very passionate in their endeavors to normalize Breastfeeding and to build support systems. Education is the key to changing the world around us. But when does education become condemnation? When does Activism become Detractivism?...

HERE to read the entire article


Thursday, May 27, 2010

LIVE: Nestle Forum - put your questions in NOW‏!!!

I just received this email from Mike Brady of Baby Milk Action in Britian and am passing along to all my fellow Nestle Boycotters.  Not a Nestle Boycotter? Do you want to know more about the Nestle Boycott?

Baby Milk Action
INFACT Canada
Ibfan
Boycott Nestle



LIVE: Nestle Forum - put your questions in NOW‏!!!
Nestle is hosting a Forum in London today 27 May - broadcast on the internet - about its Creating Shared Value strategy. Nestle portrays itself as a model of ethical behaviour, driven by its values. Yet the claims it makes and reports it produces are very misleading. 

Choose your way of putting questions about Nestle's pushing of baby milk and other issues to Nestlé and panellists. See the links at the bottom for sources of information about ongoing Nestlé malpractice, which shows Nestlé Creating Shared Value strategy is meaningless PR intended to divert criticism so it can carry on boosting profits while others count the cost.

How to put your questions - choose your method

Watch Nestle Forum webcast live and post comments:
http://clients.world-television.com/nestle/CSV_2010/

Post comments to Twitter at:
http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23csv2010

Post comments to Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/Nestle?v=wall&story_fbid=122651214433034

Post comments to Nestle Forum discussion board:
http://www.creatingsharedvalue.org/Forum.aspx

Concerns about Nestlé

Watch Mr. Henry Nastie, spoof marketing guru, explain the truth about Nestlé baby milk marketing at:
http://info.babymilkaction.org/news/campaignblog260510

Nestlé's misleading Creating Shared Value reports exposed:
http://www.babymilkaction.org/press/press17june09.html

Best wishes,

Mike Brady
---
Mike Brady 
Campaigns and Networking Coordinator 
Baby Milk Action 
http://www.babymilkaction.org/ 

ONE MILLION CAMPAIGN

ONE MILLION CAMPAIGN HAVE YOU SIGNED THE ONE MILLION CAMPAIGN PETITION YET???
http://www.onemillioncampaign.org/
  
We need membership fees, donations and merchandise sales to keep operating. 
Without your support we wouldn't be here. 
Please visit our on-line Virtual Shop at http://www.babymilkaction.org/shop/ 

Read my blog at http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com/ 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Canada’s reputation for low infant mortality takes stunning decline"

WEll, now... can any of my wonderful readers point out some of the REAL reasons that our infant mortality rate has risen?  Shall we list them?

1- mass use of chemical induction methods to start child birth instead of waiting until baby is READY to be born
2- mass use of epidurals on labouring women which then leads to further medical interventions, which in turn leads to more medical interventions, and most often associated with "emergency" caesarean sections due to fetal distress.
3- constant electronic monitoring of the labouring mother and baby- interfering with the mothers ability to move around and follow her bodies instincts to bring baby to birth, and giving out false information on the condition of the baby, leading to diagnosis of "fetal distress" sending the mother directly to the OR for a Caesarean Section.
4- the inability of the medical machine to leave well enough alone and let mothers labour as they wish without being hammered on by medical staff "trying to help" by constantly meddling and coercing mothers to allow medical interventions that they do not want or need.
5- Hospitals  and doctors that have sky high 9-5 caesarean section rates- pushing the national average to almost 1 in 4 surgical births
6- hospital and doctors that  pretend to be VBAC friendly, yet create hurdles so high that it is virtually impossible for a labouring mother to have a Vaginal birth after previous Caesarean section.
7- hospitals, doctors and midwives that  out right REFUSE to care for a woman who wishes to have a VBAC birth after 2 or more previous C/S's- regardless of the fact that the studies show it is just as safe as a VBAC after only 1 previous C/S, and that the statistics for uterine rupture are less than .75%!!!!
8- mass scale use of Ultra Sound technologies, that give unpredictable results and have a very high margin for error, leading to premature inductions and surgical births.
9- even the most seemingly innocent interventions and policies- like limiting a labouring mothers food intake, or making her change into a hospital gown, or having student/residents/interns in the room during  discussions with medical personnel can disrupt the natural cycle of a birthing woman and lead to unnatural interventions.

Each and every one of the above listed problems with our current childbirth methods is KNOWN to increase the risk of  infant deaths. Multiple studies show that Caesarean Sections increase the incidents of infant respiratory distress and infant mortality exponentially as compared to natural vaginal birth.  And each of the medical interventions that are so carelessly used in L&D wards lead to a much high risk of having to have a C/S.

Yes, the reasons given below in the article are valid reasons, but they are not the most important nor the most common. The cause of most preterm births is still a mystery to the medical community and further studies definitely should be done to determine the cause....But instead of putting all their focus on this one "unknown", they need to focus the majority of their attention on the problems that they DO understand, the reasons that already have been studied, that the Facts that are already known.  Hospitals and Doctors need to analyse the way they approach birth and start taking responsibility for THEIR actions and how they effect the Canadian Infant Mortality Rate. A "National Birthing Plan" is great- but it needs to address the REAL statistics and the REAL reason that the infant mortality rate is climbing.  Yes, focusing on preterm and low birth weight births is important and will save the lives of thousands of babies in our country each year, but without dealing with the most common birthing occurrences that relate to and cause infant deaths they will only be putting a small bandage on an arterial bleed.

As usual, WE the birthing parents need to bring these matters to the attention of the powers that be!!  Write letters, email MPPs and MPs, phone your local city councilperson...It all starts with ONE.

(as usual, the highlighted areas are my addition)

Canada’s reputation for low infant mortality takes stunning decline

Once at No. 6 in world ranking, ‘shockingly high’ death rate now puts Canada at No. 24, prompting urgent request to Health Minister
Lisa Priest-From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Once able to boast about its high world ranking for low infant mortality, Canada has now dropped from sixth to 24th place – just above Hungary and Poland.
The death rate of infants less than one year of age – 5.1 per 1,000 live births – has been called “shockingly high” and translates into 1,881 mortalities in 2007, according to the most recent data collected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
About three-quarters of those deaths occurred in the first 27 days of life.

It should always be a little bit embarrassing if you are not number one. — Douglas McMillan, a neonatologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
The drop in ranking below countries such as Sweden, Japan, Finland, France, Ireland and Greece has prompted a prominent doctors group to request an urgent meeting with the federal Health Minister to push for a national birthing strategy.
“We’re losing our reputation,” said André Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. “We have fallen way behind.”
The main causes cited by researchers are poverty, isolation, premature births and to some degree, the way the data are collected. For example, in Canada, infant mortality includes the death of any breathing infant, even very early births and terminations due to congenital abnormalities after 20 weeks gestation, but other countries have different measures.
Still, experts say Canada could learn from other countries – Japan and Sweden among them – that have low infant death rates. Japan is successful in resuscitating premature babies, while Sweden has regulations dictating that with IVF treatments, only one embryo can be transferred into the womb at a time. (Other countries implant multiple embryos, leading to more multiple births and higher risk.) Canada’s aboriginal community has traditionally seen high infant death rates due to poverty and remote locales, but those numbers alone do not explain the country’s low ranking, says Michael Kramer, scientific director of the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
“The concern is that we’re not really making any impact on reducing the incidence of these spontaneously born very pre-term infants,” Mr. Kramer said. “We don’t really know enough about what causes them, that’s the challenge – that’s where we need to make improvements.”
Premature babies are at increased risk for infant mortality. About 54,000 out of 350,000 babies were born prematurely or small for their gestational age in 2006-07, according to the latest Canadian Institute for Health Information figures.
Part of a solution, according to Dr. Lalonde, is a national birthing plan, which he estimates would cost $43.5-million over five years. It recommends federal leadership in seven key areas, including a mechanism to accurately gather data, a focus on maternity patient safety, implementing national standardized practice guidelines, and a coalition that would create a model of sustainable maternity and newborn care.
Tim Vail, spokesman for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, said representatives from the minister’s office will meet with the doctors group, and are currently working on a date.
Prakesh Shah, a neonatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, belongs to an advisory group for Ontario’s strategy on late pre-term births. Socioeconomic factors – such as impoverishment – are a big part of preterm births, he says, as are delaying pregnancy and the increasing number of in-vitro fertilization pregnancies.
Dr. Shah recently sent a team to Estonia – which was tied in 2005 with Canada for its infant mortality – and found that other countries treat premature babies and their mothers much differently than in Canada.
“In Estonia, mothers stay in hospital until baby is discharged home and provide most of the care for their babies. Nurses act as consultant to mothers,” said Dr. Shah. “Here, we have medicalized the care in such a way that parents are less involved during hospitalization and suddenly, one day when baby comes home, they are expected to provide complete care. It’s an entirely different concept.”
Even the Conference Board of Canada has described this country’s rate of infant mortality as “shockingly high,” causing many to wonder: How can such a rich country do so poorly with its most vulnerable citizens?
“It should always be a little bit embarrassing if you are not number one,” said Douglas McMillan, a neonatologist at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. “You are dealing with the most precious thing the family will have in their whole life; we need to be cognizant of that.”

 HERE to read the original article

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

World Health Assembly May 2010

World Health Assembly (WHA) May 17 to 21, 2010

Every year several members of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) to advocate for the passage of global policies to advance infant and young child nutrition and health. This year there were two key items of importance for governments and those working to improve infant and young child nutrition and the protection of breastfeeding on the agenda of the WHA. Firstly revised and strengthened resolutions on Infant and young child nutrition WHA 63 Agenda item 11.6 and secondly, agenda item 11.9 dealing with the Marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children to reduce intakes of foods high in trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, salt and added sugars.
Canada’s lack of protection of infant optimal infant and young child nutrition remains shameful. We have little or no regulatory, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms in place to protect pregnant women, new mothers and families from the very aggressive, misleading and deceptive marketing by the infant formula and baby foods manufacturers and distributors.
The marketing of junk foods and drinks to children is yet another area that must be adequately regulated in order to safeguard children from the impact of foods and drinks high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, salt and added sugars. Currently the Province of Quebec is the only Canadian jurisdiction restricting junk food marketing to children. While monitoring and enforcement remain issues of concern regarding the Quebec legislation, the regulations can provide a model for what provinces and territorial governments can do to protect children’s nutrition and health. The health and cost benefits will be staggering!

WHA 63 Agenda item 11.6

Infant and young child nutrition

The resolution urges governments and the baby foods industries to strengthen their efforts to implement the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding, The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Some key provisions:
(2) to strengthen and expedite the sustainable implementation of the Global Strategy for infant and young child feeding including emphasis on giving effect to the aim and principles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and the implementation of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative;
(3) to develop and/or strengthen legislative, regulatory and/or other effective measures to control the marketing of breastmilk substitutes in order to give effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant resolution adopted by the World Health Assembly;
(4) to end inappropriate promotion of food for infants and young children and to ensure that nutrition and health claims shall not be permitted for foods for infants and young children, except where specifically provided for, in relevant Codex Alimentarius standards or national legislation;
(5) to develop or review current policy frameworks addressing the double burden of malnutrition and to include in the framework childhood obesity and food security and allocate adequate human and financial resources to ensure their implementation;

WHA 63 Agenda item 11.9

Marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children

Recognizing that unhealthy diets is one of the main risk factors for noncommunicable diseases and that the risks presented by unhealthy diets start in childhood and build up throughout life;
Cognizant of the research that shows that food advertising to children is extensive and other forms of marketing of food to children are widespread across the world;
Recognizing that a significant amount of this marketing is for foods with a high content of fat, sugar or salt and that television advertising influences children’s food preferences, purchase requests and consumption patterns;
URGES Member States:
(1) to take all necessary measures to implement the recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, while taking into account existing legislation and policies, as appropriate;
The WHA adopted a set of recommendations for policy development and specific marketing restrictions for governments to implement, enforce and monitor.
RECOMMENDATION 1. The policy aim should be to reduce the impact on children of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt.
RECOMMENDATION 2. Given that the effectiveness of marketing is a function of exposure and power, the overall policy objective should be to reduce both the exposure of children to, and power of, marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt.
RECOMMENDATION 3. To achieve the policy aim and objective, Member States should consider different approaches, i.e. stepwise or comprehensive, to reduce marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt, to children.
RECOMMENDATION 4. Governments should set clear definitions for the key components of the policy, thereby allowing for a standard implementation process. Thesetting of clear definitions would facilitate uniform implementation, irrespective of the implementing body. When setting the key definitions Member States need to identify and address any specific national challenges so as to derive the maximal impact of the policy.
RECOMMENDATION 5. Settings where children gather should be free from all forms of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt. Such settings include, but are not limited to, nurseries, schools, school grounds and pre-school centres, playgrounds, family and child clinics and paediatric services and during any sporting and cultural activities that are held on these premises.
RECOMMENDATION 6. Governments should be the key stakeholders in the development of policy and provide leadership, through a multistakeholder platform, for implementation, monitoring and evaluation. In setting the national policy framework, governments may choose to allocate defined roles to other stakeholders, while protecting the public interest and avoiding conflict of interest.
RECOMMENDATION 7. Considering resources, benefits and burdens of all stakeholders involved, Member States should consider the most effective approach to reduce marketing to children of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt. Any approach selected should be set within a framework developed to achieve the policy objective.
RECOMMENDATION 8. Member States should cooperate to put in place the means necessary to reduce the impact of cross-border marketing (in-flowing and out-flowing) of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt to children in order to achieve the highest possible impact of any national policy.
RECOMMENDATION 9. The policy framework should specify enforcement mechanisms and establish systems for their implementation. In this respect, the framework should include clear definitions of sanctions and could include a system for reporting complaints.
RECOMMENDATION 10. All policy frameworks should include a monitoring system to ensure compliance with the objectives set out in the national policy, using clearly defined indicators.
RECOMMENDATION 11. The policy frameworks should also include a system to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the policy on the overall aim, using clearly defined indicators.
RECOMMENDATION 12. Member States are encouraged to identify existing information on the extent, nature and effects of food marketing to children in their country. They are also encouraged to support further research in this area, especially research focused on implementation and evaluation of policies to reduce the impact on children of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt.
Elisabeth Sterken
Director INFACT Canada
esterken@infactcanada.ca
Donate button Help INFACT Canada to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

Monday, May 24, 2010

and to further discuss the "devious" practices...

The American USDA has decided (rightfully so!!) to ban the use of DHA/ARA in so called  "Organic" infant formulas.

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the correction of a 2006 decision by the National Organic Program (NOP) regarding “accessory nutrients” in organic processed food. The new interpretation of the National Organic Standards is based on new information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)....
In 2006, the NOP issued a decision in response to a complaint regarding fortification of infant formula with DHA, ARA and other substances that are not on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances identifies synthetic substances that may be used, and the nonsynthetic substances that cannot be used, in organic production and handling operations. The NOP’s understanding at the time of the decision was that the substances were allowed as “accessory nutrients” under the National List § 205.605(b) Nutrient Vitamins and Minerals, in accordance with 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Guidelines for Foods and the National Organic Standards Board Recommendations.

 
After recent consultation with the FDA, it was determined that this is an incorrect interpretation of 21 CFR 104.20, Nutritional Guidelines for Foods. The NOP plans to publish draft guidance later this year that will align with the FDA interpretation of the Nutritional Guidelines for Foods......
Too bad it's not being banned form EVERY infant formula!!  It's a marketing hoax that was thought up to create the "now closer to breastmilk than ever" campaign.  There is absolutely no proof that it does ANYTHING to make babies healthier, and a rising amount of literature to show that it's actually causing many problems.

Heidi Green writes an excellent article about the topic of DHA/ARA additives.

USDA Calls For Removal Of DHA/ARA From Organic Formula

May 23, 2010 by Heidi Green
Natural. Pure. Wholesome. Good. Those are the words that come to mind when I see the “USDA organic” seal. At a time when we are all more mindful of the dangers of pesticides and chemicals in the foods we eat, it’s reassuring to see the small green-and-white emblem that means you don’t need to worry–this product is natural and good for you.However, a recent ban of synthetic fats commonly found in some organic products raises serious questions about such thinking. A statement on the ban was recently issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and will impact infant formula and other foods that contain the synthetic additives widely known as DHA and ARA. As reported by the Washington Post last year and last month, these synthetic oils were added to a list of non-organic ingredients allowed into organic products through a decision by a Bush administration official after discussion with a formula industry lobbyist and over the objections of several USDA employees who had determined such action a violation of federal standards. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and organics expert Kathleen Merrigan acknowledges that the synthetic oils should not be allowed in organic foods. New guidelines will be developed by the USDA. The process will include a 60-day period for public comment, and could take a year or longer.
What does this mean for parents?
The changes that result from the USDA’s decision may be noticed first by parents who feed their children formula, since the synthetic oils currently are added to nearly all infant formulas. In fact, except for some prescription formulas, the Cornucopia Institute notes that “only one over-the-counter formula is available without synthetic DHA/ARA.” Every other formula on the market includes them. The USDA’s decision ensures that more infant formulas will be available without DHA and ARA.
While the USDA does not, in its statement, challenge the safety of the additives, others do. For years, the Cornucopia Institute and the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA) have questioned the appropriateness and safety of adding these substances to infant formula and other foods.
Its report, “Replacing Mother – Imitating Human Breast Milk in the Laboratory,” is an examination of the synthetic oils from production to inclusion in formula, a caution about reports of side effects experienced by infants who consume them, and a look at relevant federal policies.
Why include DHA/ARA in formula?
DHA and ARA are polyunsaturated fats naturally found in human milk. In recent years, these fatty acids have received heightened attention in both the laboratory and the media as a result of ongoing controversy about healthy levels of fish intake for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Authorities have agreed that the fatty acids are important for brain, neural, and eye development; as discussion turned to how much DHA and ARA pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume for their infants’ health, formula companies saw a marketing opportunity. If they included synthetic versions of these oils (manufactured under the names DHASCO and ARASCO) in infant formula, the companies could assuage parents’ concerns about their baby’s development while suggesting that formula is “as close as ever to breast milk.” As noted in a Martek investment promotion from 1996 (and quoted in the Cornucopia Institute’s report), “Even if [the DHA/ARA blend] has no benefit, we think it would be widely incorporated into formulas, as a marketing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as ‘closest to human milk.’”
In fact, leading formula manufacturer Mead Johnson admits on its Enfamil website that numerous scientific studies have shown little or no benefit to infant development, lending support to the theory that inclusion of these oils is just a marketing gimmick—much like the inclusion of prebiotics.
Unfortunately, it seems to be an effective gimmick. The percentage of people who agreed that “infant formula and breastfeeding are equally good ways of feeding an infant” doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent between 2003 and 2004, when the formula companies began advertising their supplemented formulas.
 

HERE to read the entire article

"Devious Tactics"

A great article on the Devious Tactics used my infant formula companies to sabotage breastfeeding, while making false health claims to boost the sales of their product.

Devious Tactics

May 18, 2010
We’ve all seen the ads… New Enfamil Premium with Triple Health Guard for Growth, Brain & Eye, and the Immune System! Sounds good, huh? If you go to the Enfamil website, the very first recommendation for babies under one year old is: No cow’s milk for the first year. What is in most infant formula? Partially hydrolyzed reduced minerals whey protein concentrate… from where? Cow’s milk. On their breastfeeding page, they are still recommending time limits of 10 to 20 minutes per breast. Words like uncomfortable, pain, embarrassing, and milk machine are used. They mention sore nipples, leaking, sucking difficulties, problems with let-down… it’s starting to sound like it might be difficult. Breastfeeding is automatically paired up with supplementing. Doesn’t that sound like it is suggesting that a mom’s milk supply won’t be adequate? The ads set moms up to expect to fail. But don’t worry… their expensive formula is waiting to help. They have colorful graphs showing how much choline and DHA is in their formula compared to breastmilk. They don’t bother to mention they make DHA in the lab from their “vegetarian” sources of fermented algae and fungus.
On their formula feeding information, they start out with “Nine out of ten mothers use formula.” How normal. How acceptable. They state, “Different brands of formulas have different levels of DHA, ARA and choline, key nutrients found in breastmilk” and “…you want your formula to be as close to breastmilk as possible.”
The Mayo clinic suggests, “Infant formula can be a practical and safe alternative to breastmilk.” They go on to describe cow’s milk formula, soy-based formula and protein hydrolysate formulas (for babies allergic to milk and soy). There is that cow’s milk again, though the formula site admitted babies shouldn’t have cow’s milk until they are at least a year old. On their breastfeeding versus formula article, the Mayo clinic is repetitive and offers nothing new on the first page where they talk of breastfeeding. The second page begins, “Breastmilk is the best food for babies. If breastfeeding isn’t possible, the benefits of breastmilk are lost. Still, risk is a relative term.” They talk about feeling guilt, “Guilt is rarely a productive emotion. Instead, focus on your baby.” Sounds a lot like when you’ve ended up with a traumatic cesarean and they tell you, “At least you have a healthy baby.” Don’t think about it… don’t deal with it. Pretend it doesn’t exist. A better question is why couldn’t Mom continue to breastfeed? Too much stress? No support? Problems with baby latching on or other issues a lactation consultant or educator may have been able to help with?
HERE to read the entire article