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In: Programmes to promote breastfeeding, edited by Derrick B. Jelliffe and E. F. Patrice Jelliffe. Oxford, England, Oxford University Press, 1988. 235-47.The work of the WHO in promoting, monitoring, researching, and regulating breastfeeding and infant nutrition is reviewed. WHO has always fostered infant nutrition, but took up the subject of breastfeeding in 1974 at its 27th World Health Assembly with an expression of concern for decline of the practice. Breastfeeding is a learned behavior in humans that must be supported and reinforced: secular factors are converging to decrease breastfeeding in most of the world. The 1974 assembly set up a working group to initiate research, to collect data on infant nutrition and breastfeeding practices, composition of breast milk in different socioeconomic milieu, methods of conducting controlled studies on mortality in relation to feeding, and effects of hormonal contraceptives on lactation. 3 distinct patterns of feeding were found, among the urban poor, economically advantaged, and rural mothers. A 1979 meeting concluded that monitoring of feeding practices is necessary to set up national programs Training workshops were held and instructive materials were developed. Papers presented at the meeting were published. WHO with UNICEF are promoting the health and social status of mothers, such as nutrition, maternity protection, and support of women's organizations. WHO is collaborating with the International Labor Office (ILO) to survey maternity protection in 129 countries. A final issue being addressed is the infant food industry. In 1985, the World Health Assembly reported that the International Code of Marketing, involving labeling, marketing and regulation of infant foods, has been adopted wholly or in part by 141 countries.