UK Has The Lowest Breast-Feeding Rates In The World With Formula Nutrition Claims Potentially Being False

By April Norris

Scientists from Imperial College London have said that marketing rules need to be stricter to prevent false claims being made. These assertions say formula milk increases brain, eye and nervous system development as well as heightening the immune system. 

They said: “The wide range of health and nutrition claims made by infant formula products are often not backed by scientific references… When they are, the evidence is often weak and biased.” 

Their study issued in the British Medical Journal assessed 757 products from 15 countries between the years of 2020 and 2022.  

Doctor Ka Yan Cheung and Loukia Petrou analysed products from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and the US.  

On average the results found that each formula advertised one health or nutrition claim but only 56% of the claims had been evidenced by clinical trials. In its place were reviews, opinion pieces and even studies only tested on animals.  

Its also vital to note that 90% of the clinical trials actually carried out were either funded by the formula industry or directly related to it. This leads to questioning results since there is already an agenda in mind and does not come from a place of unbiased scientific study.  

The children’s charity UNICEF also demonstrates that the UK has some of the lowest breast-feeding rates in the entire world. 

Perhaps Formula milks biggest concern is with the companies over-inflating health and nutrition claims on formula milk. This could discourage breastfeeding by misinforming its benefits.   

 The researchers made the following conclusion: “These findings support calls for a revised regulatory framework for breast milk substitutes to better protect consumers, and avoid the harms associated with aggressive marketing of such products.”