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LLLI attends the 113th Session of the WHO Executive Board (January 2004)

Gisèle Laviolle, LLL Leader, France and Heidi Kuonen-Goetz, LLL Leader, Switzerland, LLL/WHO Representatives, attended the 113th Session of the World Health Organization Executive Board, that took place in Geneva Switzerland from January 19-24 2004. At the meeting, they promoted breastfeeding and networked with country delegates.

Report submitted by LLLI Representatives:

Report La Leche League International Attendance
World Health Organization Executive Board
113th Session
19-24 January 2004

The WHO Executive Board meetings take place twice a year. About 30 countries are members of the Executive Board, represesenting the different regions of WHO. The January session is very important as it prepares the World Health Assembly that takes place in May.

Every other year, the WHO secretariat writes a report on the implementation of the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and the subject of infant feeding is on the Agenda of the Executive Board and the WHA. The participation of La Leche League is of particular importance on these years.

In 2004, the Infant and Young Child Nutrition topic was only presented as a matter of information, which means that the countries are not expected to vote a resolution about it.

Although LLLI is linked with infant feeding, there were several other topics that were of interest to us, especially one which raised a lot of discussions on healthy lifestyles and the prevention of non-communicable diseases. The discussion was particularly on nutrition with a very hot debate on the responsibility of fat and sugar in people’s diet. The LLLI concept of nutrition and the education that takes place in LLLI support groups about healthy food can be highlighted.

In the report on Infant and young child feeding, some countries attacked one paragraph. In paragraph 23 of the report, the secretariat mentioned the research that showed a link between infant formula and some long term diseases.

All these discussions showed that these matters of health can be very controversial and that the baby food industry was very active in trying to refute the science that showed that their product is not as healthy as is claimed.

Submitted by Gisèle Laviolle and Heidi Kuonen-Goetz
LLLI /WHO Representatives
March 5, 2004

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