Improving the nutritional quality of commercial foods for infants and young children in the WHO European Region (2019)



These new reports from WHO document evidence of widespread inappropriate promotion of baby and toddler foods. Despite the WHO Guidance on ending inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children agreed in 2016 and nearly 40 years since the introduction of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, many companies that manufacture or distribute commercial baby foods fail to comply with these rules.

More than ever, robust government action is needed to fully implement the International Code and WHO’s Guidance. The latter recommends the development and utilization of nutrient profile models to help differentiate between foods that form a healthy or unhealthy diet.

Parents and caregivers need guidance on how to navigate the market and how to balance their children’s diets in light of the products currently on the market.

Effective action on these issues – by Member States and by baby food manufacturers and retailers – offers great potential to improve infant and young child nutrition and to promote health throughout the life-course.