All Projects

Do baby food companies comply with WHO guidelines?

Assessing baby food companies’ marketing breastmilk substitutes and complementary foods in the Philippines

Baby food manufacturers have a role in shaping the diets of infants and young children in the Philippines. The Access to Nutrition Foundation (ATNF), a nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, commissioned Westat to assess if companies were meeting World Health Organization (WHO) and national guidelines.

The challenge was to

  • Assess whether the marketing of breastmilk substitutes and complementary foods intended for children up to 36 months of age align with the guidelines of the WHO and the Government of the Philippines
  • Provide a comprehensive overview to identify areas of improvement that can be addressed to help protect the health of Filipino children during the first 1,000 days and beyond

Westat used ODK programming for tablet data collection and a 2-stage sample design to select primary sampling units (PSUs). We led trainings in Manila for data collection staff from the Nutrition Center of the Philippines (NCP) to:

  • Interview mothers and health professionals
  • Identify informational materials produced by baby food companies available in health centers and retail stores
  • Identify sales promotions in retail stores and online retail platforms
  • Analyze product labels of relevant products on the local market
  • Monitor advertising and promotions on traditional and online media

In spite of the exceptional circumstances associated with the SARS CoV-2 pandemic, Westat and NCP finalized the data collection without severing any of the components of the study.

Westat analyzed the data and prepared the final report that ATNF presented to UNICEF, the Government, and other stakeholders.

Westat documented 122 incidents of noncompliance with WHO guidelines and national legislation relative to marketing of products for infants and children up to 36 months. Most of the incidents related to promotions on traditional and online media; promotions at physical and online retailers; and the product labels (e.g., contained promotional messages, omission of warnings, etc.). 

Westat recommendations suggest that baby food manufacturers strengthen corporate marketing policies and that the Government tighten approval for promotions, restrict the use of digital media for promoting products and contacting mothers, and strengthen its regulations relevant to the WHO guidelines.

Read the final report: National Assessment on the Compliance with the Code and the National Measures—Philippines Report (PDF)

Want to work with us?
You’ll be in great company.

About Us Careers

Westat Employees.
Westat Employee.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Baltimore Metropolitan Council
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
DC Public Schools
Georgia Department of Transportation
Internal Revenue Service
Leadership Montgomery
Maryland Cancer Registry
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
National Science Foundation
NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
SiriusXM
Social Security Administration
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Teach for America
Texas Education Agency
The Johns Hopkins University
The National Institutes of Health
The Verizon Foundation
Toyota
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
University of Maryland Baltimore Campus
University of Michigan
University System of Maryland
Explore Our Clients

Please wait...

Forbes 2021 The Best Employers for Diversity Powered by StatistaForbes 2021: America's Best Midsize Employer Powered by Statista

Westat is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other protected status under applicable law. Notices to Employees & Applicants.