In order to protect breastfeeding it is important that all those who offer advice to families have accurate and unbiased information about products marketed to infants and young children. First Steps Nutrition Trust have reviewed fortified milks suggested as suitable for children over the age of 1 year across the world, and summarise this data to highlight why these products have no place in the diet of healthy children. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) agrees: in their report in October 2013 they clearly stated:
'No unique role of young-child formulae with respect to the provision of critical nutrients in the diet of infants and young children living in Europe can be identified, so that they cannot be considered as a necessity to satisfy the nutritional requirements of young children'
Fortified milks for children: A worldwide review of fortified milks marketed for children over 1 year (2013)
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Fortified milks are frequently high in sugar and are likely to contribute to higher energy intakes, which may contribute to chronic disease, and the voluntary fortification of foods and drinks needs to be questioned as there is increasing evidence that giving additional nutrients to those who do not need them may have adverse consequences.
Fortified milks for older children are being irresponsibly marketed to vulnerable population groups worldwide, and stricter and clearer guidance is needed for International, national and local health departments to ensure that recommendations and regulations can be tightened. In Australia infant feeding guidelines clearly state that fortified milks are not needed for healthy children over 1 year of age, and we would like to see a similar recommendation adopted in all areas.
We will be updating this report as we are sent further information and hope that all countries will consider compiling up to date reports for themselves so that health professionals and others in all areas can have independent advice on what these products contain.
We are very grateful to The A Team Foundation for funding the production of this report.