A Framework for Analyzing Infant Nutrition Policy in Malaysia

by John Haaga

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This Note considers policies to both protect and promote breastfeeding, and to encourage sound supplementary feeding of breastfed infants in Malaysia. The programs and policy changes that are assessed include the Breastfeeding Campaign in Malaysia, various regulations and benefits for working mothers, proposed changes in the practices of health care institutions, regulation of breastmilk substitutes, nutritional surveillance, and price policies. Programs vary widely in costs, potential benefits, and feasibility and, because of the diversity of feeding patterns among Malaysia's population, no single program is likely to make sense for the whole country. The study finds that the most promising approaches are through the health care and family planning systems, and that efforts should not concentrate solely on the initial choice between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. Instead, encouraging safer supplementary feeding needs to be the primary task of infant nutrition policy.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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