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Study: Research

Digital Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes: How social media and influencer marketing undermine informed choice

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Save the Children

This report investigates the latest strategies deployed by the breastmilk substitute (BMS) industry in digital marketing, specifically focusing on social media platforms. Drawing from a comprehensive scoping review encompassing 12 recent peer-reviewed studies (2020-2023), the analysis identifies 5,183 instances of digital marketing that violated the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the Code). These violations were categorized by their specific marketing strategies and linked to corresponding provisions within the Code that prohibit such practices.

The report proposes strengthening the Code through a new Resolution aligned with the WHO 2023 Guidance on regulatory measures aimed at restricting digital marketing of breastmilk substitutes. It also suggests enhancing national legislation to effectively address these practices. Additionally, the report identifies research gaps in BMS social media marketing and emphasizes the need for advanced monitoring tools. Policy recommendations stress the importance of implementing stricter regulations and fostering international collaboration to update protective measures at the global health level.

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Content type

Target audience


© Author/Publisher


Breast-Milk Substitute


Child health

Health and nutrition

Healthy Start in Life

Marketing and product safety


Protection from digital harm

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