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Gage, Heather; Rosen-von Hoewel, Julia von; Laitinen, Kirsi; Jakobik, Viktoria; Martin-Bautista, Elena; Schmid, Martina; Egan, Bernadette; Morgan, Jane; Williams, Peter; Decsi, Tamas; Campoy, Cristina; Koletzko, Berthold and Raats, Monique (April 2013): Health effects of infant feeding: Information for parents in leaflets and magazines in five European countries. In: Public Understanding of Science, Vol. 22, No. 3: pp. 365-379 [PDF, 684kB]


Parents' decisions about whether to breastfeed their infant, and when to introduce complementary foods, are important public health issues. Breastfeeding has beneficial health effects and is widely promoted. Leaflets and magazine articles on infant feeding were collected in 2005, in five European countries (England, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Spain), and screened for statements that link feeding behaviours to infant health outcomes. A total of 127 leaflets contained 512 statements (0.38/published page). Magazines contained approximately 1 article/month. Health outcomes were more intensively covered in England and Germany. Most statements referred to short term health implications. Lack of scientific agreement may underlie lack of cover of longer term health effects. Scope may exist to promote improved infant feeding practices by increasing the quantity and specificity of messages about health effects. Further research is required to evaluate the impact of alternative means of providing information on infant feeding practices.

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