Estimating the Health Impact of Industry Infant Food Marketing Practices in The Philippines

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Author(s): Stewart J F

Year: 1998

Though a considerable literature exists on the relationship between infant feeding practices and infant health and some work analyzing the effect of infant food marketing activities on mothers' feeding choices has been done, very little has been done tracing the links from marketing to ultimate health outcomes. Using a panel data set covering some nearly 2900 infants born between May 1, 1983 and April 30, 1984 in the Cebu region of the Philippines, mothers' feeding decisions and infantile diarrheal morbidity rates are modeled and jointly estimated using semi-parametric estimation methods. The data clearly supports the hypothesis that infant feeding practices are important determinants of diarrheal morbidity and that breast-feeding, both exclusively and in combination with supplementation, reduces the incidence of diarrhea. Our results also show that marketing activities have affected infant feeding choices and simulations are used to trace the effects of marketing on child health.

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