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The Global Access to Nutrition Index is published every two years and is made up of several components. One component addresses the marketing of breast-milk substitutes (BMS). This is because ATNF believes that it is essential for companies to contribute to optimal infant and young child nutrition (IYCN). Doing so is critical to achieving global nutrition goals, such as those set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for 2025 on reducing wasting and stunting, and other goals related to combating growing levels of overweight and obesity and reducing deaths and illness related to diet-related chronic diseases. It is also key to delivering Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 - Good Health and Wellbeing, which in turn underpins the achievement of many other SDGs.

Nutrition within the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from conception to two years old, is particularly important. Optimal breastfeeding is a crucial element of IYCN. Scaling up breastfeeding to near universal levels could prevent the deaths of over 820,000 children under five each year. It is for this reason that WHO recommends that babies everywhere are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, at which point safe, appropriate complementary foods (CF) should be introduced to meet the children’s evolving nutritional requirements. WHO also notes that CF should not be used as BMS, and infants and young children should continue to be breastfed until they are two or older. Inappropriate marketing of BMS can undermine optimal IYCN.

How BMS marketing is addressed in the Global Access to Nutrition Indexes

Because of the importance of IYCN, each edition of the Global Access to Nutrition Index includes a BMS marketing sub-ranking that scores and ranks the world’s six largest baby food manufacturers. They include four food and beverage sector companies - Danone, FrieslandCampina, Kraft Heinz and Nestlé - and two other companies - Abbott and RB/Mead Johnson Nutrition (RB/MJN).

The BMS marketing sub-ranking scores of the four food and beverage sector companies will be reflected in their overall scores and ranking in the 2018 Global Access to Nutrition Index. The two other companies were assessed to provide a more complete comparison of the world’s major baby food producers.                                                      

The third Global Index is due to be published in the second quarter of 2018. The six companies’ BMS marketing policies and practices are assessed using ATNF’s methodology, which measures the extent to which they market their BMS products in line with the recommendations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (The Code) and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions.

While the findings and combined results of BMS 1 and BMS 2 can be found in the Global Index reports once published in the second quarter of 2018, ATNF is releasing each BMS In-country assessment report as it is completed, ATNF BMS Marketing Thailand 2018 report and Westat Thailand study 2017 are now available.

Improving nutrition for all

The Access to Nutrition Index rates food and beverage manufacturers´ nutrition-related policies, practices and disclosures worldwide on a recurring basis.


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