Relax, you're soaking in it: sources of information about infant formula
Although the advertising of infant and follow-on formula products in Australia is prohibited by the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas: Manufacturers and Importers Agreement (1992), toddler milk is advertised without restriction. Recent research suggests that Australian mothers perceive advertisements for toddler milk to also be advertisements for infant formula. Furthermore, they tend to accept the messages they encounter in these advertisements uncritically. This study used established qualitative market research strategies to investigate what mothers, and those who influence mothers, know about formula milk products. This included exploration of commonly used sources of information, how toddler milk advertisements are interpreted and how the claims made in these advertisements are evaluated. Eight interviews were conducted: two individual interviews (involving a General Practitioner and a Community Dietitian) and six discussion groups (two groups of two mothers, two groups of two grandmothers, one group of two child and family health nurses and one group of five Child and Family Health Nurses). The results suggest that mothers seek advice about formula milk products from health professionals, their friends and their own mothers. The responses also suggest that all of these groups understand toddler milk advertisements to be advertising formula milk products and tend to rely on the messages contained in them to inform their decisions or advice about infant feeding products. It may therefore be difficult for mothers to access independent information upon which to base their decisions about infant feeding products. Further research is needed on whether sufficient independent information about infant feeding products is available to health professionals and mothers
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