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Infant Feeding Patterns and the Marketing of Infant Foods in the Philippines – Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey

Infant Feeding Patterns and the Marketing of Infant Foods in the Philippines


Guilkey, David K. & Stewart, John F. (1995). Infant Feeding Patterns and the Marketing of Infant Foods in the Philippines. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 43(2), 369-399.


The marketing of infant food in less developed countries has been the source of intense controversy over the past decade and a half. Industry critics argue that low-income uneducated mothers who might otherwise breast-feed are induced to bottle-feed breast-milk substitutes and that often these mothers do not have the resources or the knowledge necessary to bottle-feed in a safe and hygienic fashion. The critics conclude that large numbers of infants in less developed countries suffer malnutrition and death as a result of the promotional activities of formula and related food products companies. The manufacturers argue that they target their products toward the higher-income more educated section of the population that has the knowledge and the resources to use the products properly and toward working mothers who may not find exclusive breast-feeding a viable alternative. A complete analysis of the marketing of breast-milk substitutes would have to address three issues. First, the nature and extent of the marketing activities must be documented and quantified. Second, the effect of marketing activities on the mother's feeding decision must be modeled and estimated. Finally, the relationship between the feeding decision and the ultimate health consequences for the child must be determined. This article will address the first two of these issues. In contrast with most previous work, which has tended to concentrate on limited descriptions of feeding practices, such as the never-ever breast-feeding choice or the duration of breast-feeding, we consider the overall issue of feeding patterns and examine it in a longitudinal framework covering the first 6 months of the infant's life using data for the Cebu region of the Philippines. This allows us to consider marketing effects on the duration of breast-feeding and the timing and types of supplemental food introduced into the child's diet within the context of a single model. The next section provides a general description of the data and a discussion of the marketing activity associated with infant food in our study area. Elements of an individual mother's process of choice and the specification of the statistical model are presented in Section III. Section IV describes the data and estimation results. In Section V, simulation techniques are applied to the estimated model to produce measures of marketing effects on feeding patterns, and Section VI concludes the article.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Economic Development and Cultural Change


Guilkey, David K.
Stewart, John F.