Monika Costa, MSN, RNC, IBCLC is a nurse educator for women’s health services at Hartford Hospital. She is also an AWHONN electronic fetal monitoring instructor, BLS and NRP instructor, certified childbirth educator, adjunct clinical faculty, and a board member of the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition. Monika worked most of her career labor as a delivery and postpartum nurse, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant. As a mother of four breastfed children, Monika is very passionate about advocating for breastfeeding mothers and promoting healthy childhood nutrition.
Background: Obesity rates in American children have risen to epidemic levels over the past few decades. Approximately 18.5% of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese (CDC, 2017). Weight problems in childhood often continue into adulthood. The potential consequences of obesity are significant. Obesity leads to increased risks for many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, asthma, heart disease, and kidney disease. Obesity costs the United States an estimated $190.2 billion each year in medical expenses (NLC, 2018). Issue: Formula manufacturers freely advertise their products to healthy mothers who are able to breastfeed right from the beginning of their pregnancy by sending flyers, emails, and coupons. Food industry advertising has negative influence on children’s diet as most commercials are dominated by unhealthy food products. Solution: United States should adopt a policy that will ban junk food advertisements targeted to children and prohibit schools and community organizations to promote fast-food and junk food fund-raisers. The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes regarding infant formula marketing should be implemented in the United States and should be followed by governments and formula manufacturers.