Intended for healthcare professionals


Six months of exclusive breast feeding: how good is the evidence?

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 13 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:c5955

Social responsibility and the BMJ

I strongly second the concerns of Mahendradhata et al , (1) that in
developing countries this article is likely to be misrepresented to the
advantage of infant milk substitute and weaning food manufacturers ,
cause confusion to lay people as well as grass root health personnel.

The article clearly debates the optimal duration of exclusive breast
feeding in the European countries/ U.K/ developed countries and endorses
that "Exclusive breast feeding for six months is readily defendable in
resource poor countries".

However this emphasis in the article is neither reflected in the
title of the article nor highlighted in the text/ summary boxes.

Given the wide readership of the BMJ and the large influence that its
publications have on health practice throughout the world I feel that the
editorial board and reviewers need to keep in mind their social
responsibility, to the world, that publications are edited also to
emphasize their exact scope and avoid /minimize possible
misinterpretation / misrepresentation internationally.

1.Mahendradhata, Y H, Mahendradhata Y. Analysis of the evidence for six-
months of exclusive breastfeeding: the good, the bad and the ugly Rapid
Respons to Fewtrell, M, Wilson, David C , Booth I, Lucas A. Six months
of exclusive breast feeding: how good is the evidence? BMJ 2011; 342:c5955

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 January 2011
Debashis Dutt
Professor Epidemiology
All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata 700073