Trump denies United States opposition to World Health Organization breastfeeding resolution

Ric Francis via ZUMA

Ric Francis via ZUMA

Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty, ' he wrote on Twitter on Monday. The threats reportedly occurred in May at the United Nations -affiliated World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Breast milk is linked to lower risks for children for everything from neurological development problems to diabetes. Now, this is a complicated issue that my childless man brain is simply not qualified to opine on, so here is Republican #NeverTrump operative Liz Mair to explain why access to formula is important.

Globally, just five companies-Nestle, Groupe Danone, Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Kraft Heinz-own 60 percent of the infant-food market, according to the market-tracking firm Future Market Insights.

President Donald Trump went after the New York Times today over a report on the United States' opposition to a U.N. resolution on breast-feeding.

"The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid", said the NYT.

Some US delegates reportedly wanted to water down the resolution, while others wanted to maintain strong language, leading to a debate on the floor, seen in an online webcast.

In opposing the resolution, the USA was said to align with the corporate interests of formula manufacturers. Proponents of the resolutions then struggled to find a new sponsor, as more than a dozen countries feared retaliation.

There may be nobody as vulnerable to manipulation as a mother anxious about her child's health.

Health advocates said that such actions by the United States were blackmail and deeply troubling as they hold the world hostage for the sake of corporations. Though the US was able to get Ecuador to drop the resolution, delegates from Russian Federation later introduced it with only minor concessions made to the USA delegation's position.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which tried to change the wording of the resolution, denies that it was involved in making threats against Ecuador.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defended the USA delegation's approach.

The Trump administration appeared to side with companies manufacturing infant formulas whose sales are threatened by women breastfeeding their newborns. It touted the benefits of breastfeeding in its response, saying that it estimates that about 820,000 child lives would be saved every year if all infants under the age of six months were breastfed.

The official said the United States "recognizes that breastfeeding and provision of breast milk is best for all babies", but also recognizes that "not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons".

While the HHS department's reasoning independently makes sense, all mothers definitely can not breastfeed for various reasons, it should be noted the resolution did not make it necessary to do so. But when that failed, the U.S. reportedly put the squeeze on countries backing the resolution by making aggressive trade and military threats-a move that further stunned the assembly.

The U.S. leaders fought unsuccessfully to deprive poor countries access to life-saving medication and were able to get statements supporting the removal of soda taxes from guidelines of the countries struggling with increasing obesity rates.

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