Trump Administration Bullied Countries To Make Them Reject The Science On Breastfeeding

Trump Administration Bullied Countries To Make Them Reject The Science On Breastfeeding

The United States once again complicated efforts to pass a United Nations-affiliated resolution, this time one encouraging breast-feeding, drafted by the World Health Assembly.

The resolution was introduced by Ecuador at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May, and the USA delegation reportedly sought to water down the measure by removing language that called on governments to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding", along with another section calling on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that could have negative effects on young children, according to the Times.

Mr. Trump said the country "strongly supports" breastfeeding, but the issue the US representatives had was with denying access to formula.

At the same World Health Assembly meeting, according to the Times, U.S. officials also removed suggestions of introducing a soda tax from a document advising countries on fighting high rates of obesity.

When contacted for a comment, the Department of Health and Human Services said the US stance was in support of mothers who can not breast-feed for various reasons.

Need more reasons to get corporate money out of politics?

The Times reported that the U.S. delegation embraced the interests of infant-formula manufacturers.

In an email to the Times, the Department of Health and Human Services, which led the charge to make the modifications, said the original resolution "placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children". The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

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According to The Times, U.S. officials threatened harmful trade practices against Ecuador, who planned to introduce the initiative, unless they withdrew it.

The State Department declined to comment.

Mothers breastfeeding their children.

Officials at the assembly this spring were shocked by the Trump administration's reaction to the resolution and support for infant formula manufacturers, but perhaps they shouldn't have been.

HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement responding to the account of the resolution that the United States "has a long history of supporting mothers and breastfeeding around the world and is the largest bilateral donor of such foreign assistance programs". Overall, global sales are expected to rise by 4 per cent in 2018, according to Euromonitor, with most of that growth occurring in developing nations.

But it's not the first time the Trump administration has gone head-to-head with WHO.

"We're not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world", said the delegate, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media. Trump said of his decision to withdraw from the agreement.

Other wording that called for policy makers to restrict the promotion of food products that could potentially harm children also irked American delegates.

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