Cross-border promotion of formula milk


  • Professor Viroj Wiwanitkit

    1. Hainan Medical University, Haikou, China
    2. Joseph Ayobabalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji, Nigeria
    3. Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Nis, Serbia
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  • Conflict of interest: No conflict is declared.

Dear Editor,

The recent report on cross-border promotion of formula is very interesting.[1] Phoutthakeo et al. concluded that ‘the promotion of formula milk via media from Thailand negatively affects breastfeeding mothers in Lao People Democratic Republic (PDR).’[1] In fact, the effect of mass media on health behaviour can be expected. Sometimes, the media might mislead the population to the unwanted behaviour. Indeed, Putthakeo et al. previously reported that television advertisement was an important determinant for breastfeeding in Lao PDR.[2] It is no doubt that television advertisement can affect the decision. However, it cannot conclude whether local or cross-border advertisement has negative effect since the local people of Lao PDR can have information from both sources. Nevertheless, the important consideration is not only which source of information would result in negative behaviour but also how to control the information from media that can distract the local people from good health behaviour. The concept of ethics of clear health communication might be applied and legal control should be set.[3]