New study faults companies still making spurious claims about nutritional value of baby formula

A new study has discovered that many companies are still making spurious claims about the nutritional value of baby formula.

This is despite rules designed to curb the way they are advertised.

Scientists from Imperial College London looked at how hundreds of breast milk substitutes were marketed in Nigeria and South Africa, as well as 13 other countries across the world.

Their study, which was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), assessed 757 products from 15 countries.

They discovered that most products gave no scientific references for their health claims or made claims that are not supported by robust clinical evidence.

These include claims that formula milk can increase brain, eye and nervous system development and improve the immune system.

The Scientists from Imperial College London say marketing rules must be tightened to prevent such claims from being made.

Dr Ka Yan Cheung and Loukia Petrou reportedly analysed products from Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and the US – a mix of high, middle and low income countries – between 2020 and 2022.

The researchers are however calling for greater regulation and oversight.

The World Health Organization however recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives.

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