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PIA Press Release

DOH warns mothers vs bottle feeding

by Lovely Laudette D. Gamba

BUTUAN CITY (October 5) -- The Department of Health (DOH), Caraga Region thru Dr. Grace Lim, Maternal and Child Health Coordinator warns mothers on the ill effects of cows milk or milk formulas to infants and babies during the Milk Code Orientation here, recently.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that some 16,000 infant deaths occurred annually due to bottle-feeding. Bottle feeding is also associated by WHO to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, respiratory tract infection like pneumonia, stroke, meningitis, kidney problems, leukemia and other forms of cancer.

Bottle feeding, according to experts, increases the child's risk to asthma, allergy, acute respiratory disease, infection from contaminated formula, childhood cancers, chronic diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, gastrointestinal infections, mortality, otitis media and ear infections and side effects of environmental contaminants.

Bottle feeding also greatly reduced the child's cognitive development. Based on studies, low birth weight infants who were never breastfed were found to have lower test scores in overall intellectual function than those who were breastfed. Studies also reveal that bottlefed babies are about 40 percent more likely to develop type 1 diabetes. They are also 25 percent more likely to become overweight or obese and 60 percent more likely to suffer from recurrent ear infection.

Bottle feed babies are also 30 percent more likely to suffer from leukemia, about 100 percent more likely to suffer from diarrhea and about 250 percent more likely to be hospitalized for respiratory infections like asthma and pneumonia. This is because cow's milk is a food allergen. The entry of its large protein molecules into the body prompts the immune system to produce mucus that can cause allergies like asthma. The mucus is also a good breeding ground for germs that can cause pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections.

Studies show that milk allergy can cause problems ranging from sleeplessness, diabetes and autism. Cows milk protein can leach calcium in bones and can cause rather than prevent osteoporosis. Cows milk protein is hard to digest and can cause metabolic distress to internal organ especially kidneys.

The risks associated with bottle-feeding prompted DOH to pass the Philippine Milk Code in 1981. Since then, it has made significant milestone in the promotion of breast-feeding in the country. Among these is the passage of the Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatives bill and the Rooming-in and Breastfeeding Act of 1992.

To intensify breast-feeding in the country, DOH will push for the legislation of paid breast-feeding breaks for working mothers. DOH through the Milk Code will also push for the regulation on the advertising and promotion of infant formula as well as revision of the implementing rules and regulations of the Philippine Milk Code for a more stringent monitoring of baby food products. (PIA-13) [top]

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