Why has the city of Newark, New Jersey partnered up with infant formula manufacturer Nestle to fight obesity in young toddlers? That is exactly the question many concerned citizens are asking mayor Corey Booker, who recently launched a partnership with Nestle entitled “Nestle and Newark Now”.
Nestle, of course, creates Gerber brand infant formula, which is actually escalating the obesity epidemic. Breast milk is recommended by everyone from alternative experts to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Surgeon General in order to prevent obesity and promote overall wellness.
“Breastfeeding plays a key role not only in infancy but also in shaping the future of the child. Exposure to infant formula during this vital period may in fact increase chances of obesity later in childhood. The risk increases as the beneficial effects of breastmilk that prevent obesity are replaced with the detrimental effects of infant formula, “ Dr JP Dadhich, National Coordinator, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, said in a statement.
What’s Going on Here?
So why is a major corporation invested into the infant formula market spearheading a pro-breastfeeding campaign to eradicate childhood obesity? Many concerned medical professionals and citizens alike are saying that Nestle will use the platform to promote their own infant formula.
“Nestle sponsoring an anti-obesity program is like R.J. Reynolds sponsoring an exercise program — absurd and inappropriate,” says nurse Maria Parlapiano from nearby Camden.
A campaign to stop the initiative, posted on Change.org, now has over 2,000 signatures. An organization based in the United Kingom also took action and contacted Booker about the campaign, highlighting concerns over a serious conflict of interest with regards to Nestle’s involvement.
The group, known as the Baby Milk Action, stated:
“It’s just a complete conflict of interest… This should not be sponsored by a company that has a vested interest in products that increase the risks of obesity for children.