The Mead Johnson company, makers of a leading line of infant formulas (Enfamil), has reached, as Marion Nestle wrote here last month, a new low point in the nation's nutrition history by introducing a product called Enfagrow Premium Chocolate. This is a chocolate-flavored version (it also comes in vanilla) of formula designed for toddlers—ages 12 to 36 months, according to the company—as they transition from infancy to early childhood. The can says "Toddler Formula," which is odd since there is no way children 12 months to 36 months even need formula.
Touting its health benefits, the company sells this as follows:
As your child grows from an infant to a toddler, he's probably becoming pickier about what he eats. Now more than ever, ensuring that he gets complete nutrition can be a challenge. That's why we created new Enfagrow PREMIUM Chocolate with Triple Health Guard™. With over 25 nutrients, Omega-3 DHA, prebiotics, and a great tasting chocolate flavor he'll love, you can help be sure he's getting the nutrition he still needs even after he outgrows infant formula.
Triple Health Guard? It sounds like car wax or water proofing for a couch.
Formula companies have long used direct and aggressive consumer advertising to suggest the health benefits of formula feeding, including brain and eye development, to pregnant and new mothers, and they have expanded their market to include toddlers. There are two major concerns. First is that formula marketing undermines breastfeeding, and second, mother's milk cannot be replicated in a laboratory and is uniquely superior for babies, even protecting them against obesity later in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding infants until they turn one year old. Health professionals and child advocates concerned with giving children the best possible start in life—and now those concerned with the prevention of obesity—are working hard to encourage as many mothers as possible to breastfeed without formula supplementation as long as possible.