Scientists from 15 countries around the world found that most of the advertising promises of manufacturers about the health benefits of infant formula have no scientific evidence. The study is published in BMJ .
Manufacturers of infant formula often advertise it as beneficial for brain development, immunity, and growth. Scientists believe that such promises may lead to a decrease in the frequency of breastfeeding.
They searched the websites of infant formula manufacturers and examined packages of formula intended for healthy term infants in 15 countries: Australia , Canada , Germany, India, Italy , Japan , Nigeria , Norway , Pakistan , Russia , Saudi Arabia , South Africa , Spain . UK and US in 2020-2022. The study, which was led by scientists from the Imperial College London , was attended by employees of Sechenov University.
The most common ingredient groups listed in the formulation were long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (46% of products); prebiotics, probiotics or synbiotics (37% of products) and hydrolyzed protein (20% of products).
26% of products contained at least one link to a study to support the promotional promise. At the same time, manufacturers often referred to low-quality studies or animal tests, which cannot serve as evidence of benefit to humans. In addition, 88% of the study authors received funding from formula manufacturers.
Scientists believe that it is necessary to immediately change the norms of marketing infant formula.