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Baby Formula Industry Like Tobacco Industry, Academic Says

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Baby Formula Industry Like Tobacco Industry, Academic Says

Wellington, Nov 23 NZPA - An Auckland researcher is lamenting the low numbers of Maori mothers breast feeding, comparing the baby formula industry to the tobacco industry for its serious effect on Maori health.

Dr Marewa Glover, director of Auckland University's Centre for Tobacco Research, said she was surprised to find Maori babies had the lowest rates of breast feeding in New Zealand.

She said breast feeding had undergone a huge ideological shift since colonisation.

"Traditional Maori infant care practices have been lost as the benefits of western and modern practices have been sold to Maori mothers," she said.

Prior to marketing restrictions, both the tobacco industry and the baby formula industry omitted significant health risks, she said.

"They have managed, through marketing, to shift attitudes."

Plunket Maori Health Services general manager Sonya Rimene agreed that traditional Maori infant practices had been lost and she said the reason for this needed to be looked into.

"The actual contribution of the artificial baby milk industry to Maori babies having the lowest rates of breast feeding in New Zealand has yet to be studied and Plunket would welcome that research."

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