Legal and Ethical Issues in Infant Growth
A civilization’s progress is reflected in the status of its weakest sections. Children are among the weakest and the most vulnerable sections of a society and depend almost entirely on the adults for all their needs including nutrition, growth, and development. Suboptimal feeding practices either due to lack of knowledge, skills, or lack of resources can permanently damage a growing child’s physiology. Vested interests of infant food industries have added fuel to the fire by projecting biased information and unhealthy or unscientific practices. Apart from feeding and nutrition, modernization has also brought about a steep rise in child exploitation, child labor, and child abuse in all forms. Hence today the world has not only a legal but also an ethical and moral responsibility to safeguard children’s rights by ensuring that every child is given a chance to undergo a normal growth and development in all spheres of life in a healthy and fear-free world. With this realization, the world has woken up to the “Child Rights” and has formulated ways to safeguard child rights through various codes, declarations, acts, and conventions endorsed by and implemented through governments and various international and national nongovernment organizations. This chapter gives an overview of the legal and ethical issues related to infant feeding and growth with a special reference to HIV; describes what a normal growth is and what can go wrong; reviews various global declarations, conventions, and documents related to child rights; tries to identify various hurdles in implementation of these codes and laws; and finally tries to outline the solutions and the roles and responsibilities that the health-care professionals and the society can undertake to ensure a healthy and discrimination-free world where every child’s human rights are safeguarded.
KeywordsFeeding Practice Infant Feeding International Code Healthy Start Oral Rehydration Salt
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Human immunodeficiency virus
Human papilloma virus
International Labour Organization
Infant milk substitute
Infant and Young Child Feeding
Millennium Development Goals
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Assembly
World Health Organization
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