[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 1982

Infant Formula Controversy-Reply

Author Affiliations

2220 20th St NW Washington, DC 20009

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(6):560. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970420084026

In Reply.—I fully agree with Dr Simms' assertion that inappropriate infant formula promotion and use are not the largest contributors to excessive infant and child mortality in developing countries; I would further agree that contaminated and diluted infant formula is not even the "number one" cause of diarrhea and malnutrition. However, the linkages between mass marketing of infant formula to poverty populations and consequent declines in breast-feeding with associated diarrhea and malnutrition are significant and major contributors to Third World morbidity and mortality patterns. Moreover, they are factors that we can do something about now, with promotive, preventive, and curative health efforts.

Probably only around 15 million infants in developing countries are currently exposed to infant formula; that leaves some 85 million infants per year, most of them born into desperately poor and environmentally unhygienic settings, whose health can be promoted by vigorous support of breast-feeding, and many of