Send to

Choose Destination
Int Breastfeed J. 2006 Aug 22;1:12.

Differences in perception of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes between pediatricians and obstetricians in Japan.

Author information

Showa University of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Tokyo, Japan.



The World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes (WHO Code) aims to protect and promote breastfeeding. Japan ratified the WHO Code in 1994, but most hospitals in Japan continue to receive free supplies of infant formula and distribute discharge packs to new mothers provided by infant formula companies. The aim of this study was to explore the knowledge and attitudes of pediatricians and obstetricians in Japan to the WHO Code.


A self-completion questionnaire was sent to 132 pediatricians in the 131 NICUs which belonged to the Neonatal Network of Japan, and to 96 chief obstetricians in the general hospitals in the Kanto area of Japan, in 2004.


Responses were received from 68% of pediatricians and 64% of obstetricians. Sixty-six percent of pediatricians agreed that "Breastmilk is the best", compared to only 13% of obstetricians. Likewise, pediatricians were more likely to be familiar with the WHO Code (51%) than obstetricians (18%).


In Japan, pediatricians and obstetricians, in general, have low levels of support for breastfeeding and low levels of familiarity with the WHO Code. To increase the breastfeeding rates in Japan, both pediatricians and obstetricians need increased knowledge about current infant feeding practices and increased awareness of international policies to promote breastfeeding.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center