Thursday, March 29, 2007

We have a new print ad!

Our second print ad for National Women's Month was published early this week. This time, it is about health risks of NOT breastfeeding for children. Our colleagues in the World Health Organization reviewed the available scientific literature and concluded that there was overwhelming scientific evidence for the following health risks for children who are not breastfed:
  • diarrhea and pneumonia - formula-fed babies get diarrhea & pneumonia more often and for much longer than breastfed children
  • asthma - formula-fed infants have 40-50% higher risk of developing asthma and wheeze than infants breastfed for 9 months or longer
  • food allergy - children breastfed the longest had lowest incidence of atopy, eczema, food allergy and respiratory allergy
  • reduced intelligence - formula-fed children have IQ 3-5 points lower than breastfed children (other studies found bigger differences)
  • infection from contaminated formula - powdered baby milk is not sterile
  • chronic diseases - formula-fed children have higher risk of developing diabetes, leukemia and other cancers, and obesity

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) noticed our first print ad and wrote about it in their blog. You can read about it here:

It's sad that we can't afford to get this message to more mothers out there. Our communication budget, including those of partners in government and other international organisations, is a drop in the bucket compared to the advertising budget of milk companies. One media executive told me that from one milk company alone, his media outfit receives over P70 million (US$ 1.5 million) in advertising every year!

We at UNICEF can think of many better ways to spend P70 million, than to promote powdered milk.

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