UN Committee on the Rights of the Child calls on UK to protect breastfeeding

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We are delighted that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has highlighted the need to tackle the UK’s extremely low breastfeeding rates in order to improve and protect children’s health.

It states:

The Committee is concerned about the:

  1. High prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in many parts of the State party;
  2. Lack of comprehensive data on child food security, while some research indicate that currently available programmes, such as free school meal programmes, may not be effectively responding to child hunger;
  3. Extremely low rate of breastfeeding, and only one percent of women maintaining exclusive breast feeding for six months in 2010, and inadequate regulation of marketing of breastmilk substitutes.

Crucially, it recomends the following:

  1. Systematically collect data on food security and nutrition for children, including those relevant to breast-feeding, overweight and obesity, in order to identify root causes of child food insecurity and malnutrition;
  2. Regularly monitor and assess effectiveness of policies and programmes on food security and nutrition of children, including school meal programmes and food banks, as well as programmes addressing infants and young children;
  3. Promote, protect and support breastfeeding in all policy areas where breastfeeding has an impact on child health, including obesity, certain noncommunicable diseases, and mental health, and fully implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

Committee on the Rights of the Child: Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Read the full Concluding Observations