November report for Society Culture and Health

4 November 2020

New grants/funding

Smith JP, Stewart MA, Workshops, ‘Human rights, gender budgeting and progressing breastfeeding policy in Australia: 2020 online workshops and new resources to guide action and build capacity for research-informed policy advocacy’, ANU Gender Institute Grant, successful $4500.

Keynote and invited presentations

Smith JP. Invited speaker on “The economic and environmental costs of not breastfeeding”, National University of Ireland Galway Online Webinar "Diverse global perspectives on breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.", October 7, 2020.

Smith JP. Invited speaker on ‘Is the global formula boom maladaptive? Breastfeeding as the evolved infant and young child feeding system for human and planetary health’, World Breastfeeding Week webinar, Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand (LCANZ), 2 August 2020.

Other conference presentations

Bartick M, Jegier B, Smith JP. Measuring the economic implications of not breastfeeding: Making sense of diverse estimates, calculators, and models (presentation).  American Public Health Association 2020 Annual Meeting and Expo (Oct. 24 - 28); San Francisco, CA2020.

Tinh Doan, Peng Yu, Christine LaBond, Cathy Gong, and Lyndall Strazdins. Time for Physical Activity: different, unequal, gendered. Presented to Australasian Human Development Association online conference, October 22-23, 2020.

Outreach and engagement

Julie Smith convened meeting with Professor Liv Elin Torheim from Oslo Metropolitan University and the Norway National Nutrition Council, Dr Anne Baerug, leader of Norwegian Breastfeeding Centre, and Roger Mathisen Regional Director, Southeast Asia, Alive & Thrive, 9 October 2020 to discuss research on including human milk in food and GDP statistics.

Julie Smith Organised and chaired ANU Crawford School of Public Policy online webinar series Gender responsive budgeting and the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy, and organised and cochaired 3 online workshops:

Papers accepted/published:

Baker P, Melo T, Neves PA, Machado P, Smith JP, Piwoz E, Barros A, Victora C., McCoy D, What explains the global boom in commercial breastmilk substitutes markets? A synthesis of data and literature on its dynamics, determinants and consequences, submitted to Maternal and Child Nutrition, 3 July 2020. accepted 27-9-20.

The inappropriate marketing and aggressive promotion of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) undermines breastfeeding and harms child and maternal health in all country contexts. Although a global formula ‘sales boom’ is reportedly underway, few studies have investigated its dynamics and determinants. This study takes two steps. First, it describes trends and patterns in global formula sales volumes, by country income and region. Data are reported for 77 countries, for the years 2005-19, and for the standard (0-6 months), follow-up (7-12m), toddler (13-36m), and special (0-6m) categories. Second, it draws from the literature to  understand how transformations underway in first-food systems – the systems that provision foods for children aged 0-36 months – explain the global transition to higher formula diets.

San Too, L., Leach, L.S., & Butterworth, P. Cumulative impact of high job demands, low job control, and high job insecurity on midlife depression and anxiety: a prospective cohort study of Australian employees. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Accepted 14/10/2020.

There is a lack of evidence concerning the prospective effect of cumulative exposure to psychosocial job stressors over time on mental ill-health. This study aimed to assess whether cumulative exposure to poor quality jobs places employees at risk of future common mental disorder.  Data were from the Personality & Total Health (PATH) Through Life Study (n=1279, age 40−46 at baseline). Data reported on the cumulative exposure to multiple indicators of poor psychosocial job quality over time and future common mental disorder years later. The results showed that cumulative exposure to poor quality work (particularly more secure work) on multiple occasions elevated the risk of subsequent common mental disorder, independent of social, health, verbal intelligence, and personality trait confounders (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.30, 95% Confidence Interval [95% CI] = 1.06−1.59). This supports the need for workplace interventions to prevent repeated exposure of poor quality work.

Smith JP, Iellamo A, ‘Wet nursing and donor human milk sharing in emergencies and disasters. A review”, Breastfeeding Review, accepted 26-08-20

During emergencies and disasters infant survival can depend on their access to breastfeeding or human milk. Wet nursing and donor human milk sharing are options endorsed by the World Health Assembly (WHA). This study looks at regulatory environments for wet nursing and donor human milk sharing and considers the wider food security and resilience implications.

Smith JP. Editorial Children’s rights and ‘alternative’ diets: Supporting caregivers’ decision-making on healthy diets for infants and young children. International Journal of Birth and Parent Education. 2020;8(1)

Governments everywhere have endorsed children’s rights to health in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, 1990). This encompasses safe and adequate food and nutrition. Infants and young children rely on caregivers to decide what they eat, hopefully using good information and advice, but often influenced by marketing. Do new parents get the support they need on ‘alternative diets’? Anything other than breastfeeding of infants is an ‘alternative diet’, and any substitutes must be carefully scrutinised (Kent, 2015).