Paperback ISBN 978-1-909675-264 | 324 pages
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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:
(i) The protection and promotion of breastfeeding.
(ii) The recognition that breastmilk substitutes must be used sometimes, as long as their proper
use is supported by appropriate marketing and promotion.
(iii) 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Professor Stewart Forsyth is Honorary Professor of Paediatrics, University of Dundee, and formerly Medical Director and Consultant Paediatrician, NHS Tayside, Scotland in the UK. He graduated in medicine at the University of Glasgow in 1973, and after junior training posts in medicine, surgery and obstetrics and paediatrics, pursued a career in medical paediatrics specializing in neonatal intensive care in Edinburgh and Dundee and was appointed consultant paediatrician in 1983 with responsibility for the Neonatal Service in Dundee, Tayside. Subsequently he was appointed to Clinical Director roles and latterly was the Medical Director for the University Teaching Hospitals.
His Scotland-wide roles included Specialist Advisor on Medical Paediatrics to the Chief Medical Officer, Vice-Chair of the Scottish Governments Child Health Support Group, Chair of National Review of Neonatal Services in Scotland, and Deputy Convenor of Children in Scotland the largest children’s charity in Scotland. More recently he has been Chair of the Early Nutrition and Later Health Task Force at the International Life Sciences Institute in Brussels. In 2012 he received the OBE award from HRH The Queen for contribution to children’s health in Scotland.
He has had a longstanding research interest in infant and young-child nutrition and was the paediatric lead for the Dundee Infant Feeding Study which he initiated with his colleague Professor Peter Howie, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1986, and the results of the study were published in the British Medical Journal in 1990, 1993 and 1998. The study was one of the most comprehensive prospective assessments of the health benefits of breastfeeding during childhood in a developed country, and the published papers are still regularly referenced today. His most recent research has been related to the role of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in health and wellbeing in early life.
Professor Forsyth was commissioned to undertake advisory and health service reviews for the Scottish Government and also the UK Government, he is a past member of the Scottish Infant Feeding Advisory Group that was chaired by the Chief Nurse for Scotland, and in the past he has been a regular contributor to infant-feeding organizations including the Annual Conference of the Baby Friendly Initiative.
He is also Board Chairman of a Counselling organization based in Dundee and a founding member and former Chair of an organization called Parent-to-Parent which provides support for families with children with special needs.