April 11, 2012
It’s time to speak out AGAIN against corporate profiteering at the expense of women’s health!
Thanks to activism of women like you, international public health experts established a code more than 30 years ago prohibiting infant formula companies from marketing their wares in health care facilities and from giving out free samples to pregnant women and mothers. They took these steps to support women who want to breastfeed because they realize, like you do, that corporate marketing shouldn't be allowed to get in the way of breastfeeding which has important health benefits for babies, children and their mothers.
But today, the vast majority of U.S. hospitals are violating the code. We are all used to seeing food advertisements on television or on billboards as we commute to and from work. We are accustomed to receiving the occasional free sample to influence our choices when we visit the supermarket. We know those ads and samples might not encourage us to make the most healthy food choices – but shouldn’t we be able to expect that health takes priority over marketing in a hospital?
We have heard the motto: “breast is best” over and over again, but when hospitals distribute free infant formula samples they confuse the message, giving women the idea that their health care providers endorse infant formula over breastfeeding. Yet, the truth is that all major medical organizations, including the U.S. Surgeon General, agree that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life is best for protecting against infections and asthma, obesity, and SIDS. In addition, breastfeeding helps moms by reducing the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and by saving them money, too! Sadly, research has shown that women who receive formula samples from hospitals breastfeed for a shorter amount of time and are less likely to breastfeed exclusively.
The NWHN supports every woman’s decision to breastfeed as long as she wants or is able to, and we’ve joined with over 100 allies to call on hospitals to stop letting infant formula companies use them as marketing tools. I ask you to join me in supporting this new campaign against an old, and harmful, practice. Sign the petition now to tell infant formula makers to stop using hospitals as marketing tools!
National Women's Health NetworkPH: 202.682.2640 | FAX: 202.682.2648 | For health information: 202.682.2646
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