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20 November 2014
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) supports Consumers International’s call for a Global Convention to Protect and Promote Healthy Diets
The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) organised by WHO/FAO takes place in Rome this week. The conference aims to address the lack of coordinated effort and policy coherence to end global malnutrition and guarantee food and nutrition security, [1] which is a major challenge in achieving target 1.C of the Millennium Development Goal – to reduce the problem of malnourishment and underweight. [2]

Ahead of this conference, Consumers International, the World Obesity Federation, the UK Health Forum and consumer groups from Fiji and Mexico have put forward an open letter calling for the endorsement of a Global Convention to Protect and Promote Healthy Diets, a treaty supported by over 320 individual experts and organisations.[3] Such a convention would aim to engage health professionals, policy makers and non-governmental organisations to develop policy tools to protect and promote healthy diets.

WABA supports recommendations made by Consumers International for a Global Convention, particularly its call to (a) increase awareness and education on nutrition, (b) strengthen control and restriction of advertising and promotion of unhealthy food and beverage products, and (c) ethical labelling, coding and advertising of food and beverage products. [4]

Obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases are also risks associated with infant formula-feeding. Evidence-based research shows that breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing NCDs significantly[5] and is as such vital to the nutrition debate.

WABA agrees with the statement by Amanda Long, Director General of Consumers International that “policy actions….will determine whether we can turn the tide on this health crisis.”[6] WABA also agrees with Tim Lobstein, Policy Director for the World Obesity Federation, that the “..expansion of the marketing of highly processed foods is undermining health in much of the developing world” and that “..a Global Convention which can help Member States, particularly smaller nations, to build and maintain a robust defense of public health.”

WABA believes that the suggested convention will help meet the goals of ICN2 – to eventually end mal and undernutrition - and will support efforts to achieve this goal.
[2] See for a full description of Goal 1 of the Millennium Development Goals
[3] Sourced from Consumers International’s Press Statement
[5] See for examples for evidence-based research promoting breastfeeding
[6] Sourced from Consumers International’s Press Statement
For more information, please contact:
WABA liaison person:
Nisha Kumaravel
Communications Officer
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