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front cover professor stewart forsyth obe THE WASTED YEARS isbn 9781909674346.jpg

Determining optimum early-life nutrition to support current and future health is a challenge for stakeholders in this important area of public health. They include parents, scientists, health professionals, policymakers, the formula-milk industry, governments, and global health institutions. It is also difficult for breastfeeding interest groups, who provide civil-society input, to best serve the needs of mothers, families, infants and young children.

There are three incredibly important aspects of infant feeding:

  1. The protection and promotion of breastfeeding.

  2. The recognition that breastmilk substitutes must be used sometimes, as long as their proper use is supported by appropriate marketing and promotion.

  3. Diverse foods must be introduced gradually in early life.

To achieve the above, all relevant stakeholders must collaborate on policies and practices that ensure continuous improvement in nutritional care for children, and provide reassurance to families. The current failure to do so relates to several decades of disharmony and deeply embedded acrimony and division between the stakeholders.

Professor Forsyth unpicks these many areas of conflict and controversy from a health professional perspective. He appraises current policies and practices and reflects on the politics, while attempting to find solutions that  make infant and young-child feeding policy more credible, more desirable and more achievable, and thus protect children’s lives.

ISBN 978-1-909675-36-4 | 324 pages | Illustrated | Paperback £16.99  


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Howie PW, Forsyth JS, Ogston SA, et al. (1990) Protective effect of breastfeeding against infection. British Medical Journal 300, 11–16.

Forsyth JS, Ogston SA, Clark A, et al. (1993) Relation between early introduction of solid food to infants and their weight and illnesses during the first two years of life. British Medical Journal 306, 1572–76.

Wilson AC, Forsyth JS, Greene SA, et al. (1998) Relation of infant diet to childhood health: seven-year follow-up of a cohort of children in the Dundee infant feeding study. British Medical Journal 316, 21–25.

Forsyth S (2010) International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes – three decades later time for hostilities to be replaced by effective national and international governance. Archives of Disease in Childhood 95, 769–70.

Forsyth S (2011) Policy and pragmatism in breastfeeding. Archives of Disease in Childhood 96: 909–10. DOI: 10.1136/adc.2011.215376.

Forsyth S (2012) FTSE, WHO Code and the infant-formula industry. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 60, 154–56. DOI: 10.1159/000337304.

Forsyth S (2013) Non-compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is not confined to the infant-formula industry. Journal of Public Health 35, 185–90.

Forsyth S, Gautier S, Salem N Jr (2017) Dietary intakes of arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in early life – with a special focus on complementary feeding in developing countries. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 70, 217–27.

Forsyth S (2018) Should the World Health Organization relax its policy of non-cooperation with the infant food industry? Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 73, 160–62.

Forsyth S (2018) Is WHO creating unnecessary confusion over breastmilk substitutes? Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 67, 760–62.

Forsyth S (2018) Dietary docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in early life: what is the best evidence for policymakers? Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 72, 210–22.

Forsyth S (2019) Formula milk studies couldn’t exist without industry. British Medical Journal 364, l367.

Forsyth S (2019) What is opinion and what is evidence? British Medical Journal 366, l5395.

Forsyth S (2019) Infant feeding and conflict of interest: a healthcare perspective. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 75, 252–55. DOI: 10.1159/000504775).

Dattilo AM, Carvalho RS, Feferbaum R, Forsyth S, Zhao A (2020) Hidden realities of infant feeding: systematic review of qualitative findings from parents. Behavioural Sciences (Basel) 10, 83.

Forsyth S (2020) Should there be a comprehensive independent review of infant feeding policy-making? Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 76, 201-206. DOI: 10.1159/000508455. Available at: accessed August 2022).

Forsyth S (2021) 40th anniversary of the international code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes. The Lancet 398, 1042.

Forsyth S (2022) Marketing of breast-milk substitutes revisited: new ideas for an old problem. World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics 124, 151-56. DOI: 10.1159/000516724.

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