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UNICEF calls for stricter controls on infant food marketing

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UNICEF calls for stricter controls on infant food marketing

UNICEF calls for stricter controls on infant food marketing
October 17
11:10 2016

Five in six children are not fed enough nutritious food for their age, depriving them of energy and nutrients at a critical time in their development, according to a new UNICEF report.

Poor nutritional practices, including the delayed introduction of solid foods, infrequent meals and the lack of food variety, are widespread. The UNICEF report suggests that half of pre-school aged children suffer from anaemia and only half of children aged six to 11 months receive any foods from animal sources such as fish, meat and dairy, which are essential to supply zinc and iron.

The report urges: “Governments should enact legislation and adapt policies to prohibit the inappropriate promotion of all commercially produced food or beverage products that are specifically marketed as suitable for feeding children up to 36 months of age, while continuing to adopt and enforce the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.”

The onus is on Government and the private sector to make stronger and more targeted investments to make nutritious foods affordable and accessible to the poorest children. Making essential changes has the potential to prevent stunted growth, and even save 100,000 lives a year.

France Begin, Senior Nutrition Advisor at UNICEF, says: “Infants and young children have the greatest nutrient needs than at any other time in life. But the bodies and brains of young children do not reach their full potential because they are receiving too little food, too late. Poor nutrition at such a young age causes irreversible mental and physical damage.”

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