LCQ19: Promotion on breastfeeding
The Government has indicated that it has a long-standing commitment to protect, promote and support the optimal feeding of infants and young children, and that the exceedingly aggressive marketing of formula milk in Hong Kong is considered one of the contributing factors of the low exclusive breastfeeding rates in Hong Kong. Regarding the marketing of formula milk by distributors and the promotion of breastfeeding by the Government, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the quantity of formula milk imported into Hong Kong in each of the past five years;
(2) as the Under Secretary for Food and Health indicated at the meeting of the Panel on Health Services of this Council on April 10 this year that the amount of advertising expenditure on milk powder in 2015 was as high as $3.14 billion, and such amount ranked the third largest among the various categories of advertising expenditures that year, whether the authorities know the amount and ranking of advertising expenditure on milk powder in each of the years from 2012 to 2014 and in 2016; and
(3) of the details (including the expenditure incurred) of the activities conducted by the authorities to promote breastfeeding in each of the past five years, in particular the respective production costs of Announcements in the Public Interest (APIs) for broadcasting on television and other media and APIs for broadcasting on radio as well as the respective numbers of times that such APIs were broadcast?
The Government has all along endeavored to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, and plans to promulgate the voluntary Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products, and Food Products for Infants and Young Children (HK Code) in mid-2017 to protect breastfeeding and support the optimal feeding of infants and young children below 36 months old. My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:
(1) The quantity of formula milk powder imported into Hong Kong in each of the past five years is as follows:
|Year||Quantity of imported formula milk powder
(2) According to admanGo, a local advertising database, the advertising expenditure on "formula milk powder for infants and children" was $3.14 billion in 2015, ranked the third highest. Of which, the advertising expenditure on formula milk products targeting at infants and young children aged below three was $2.87 billion. The amount and ranking of advertising expenditure relating to formula milk powder in Hong Kong in each of the past five years are as follows:
|Year||Amount of advertising expenditure on formula milk products targeting at infants and young children
aged below three
|Ranking of advertising expenditure on formula milk products for infants and children*|
* Includes advertising expenditure on formula milk products targeting at infants and young children aged below three and formula milk products for children aged three or above.
(3) The Committee on Promotion of Breastfeeding (the Committee), chaired by the Under Secretary for Food and Health, was set up in 2014 to enhance the sustainability of breastfeeding and further strengthen community support for breastfeeding. Members include representatives from relevant professional healthcare bodies, academia as well as representatives of the organisations that have been participating in the promotion of breastfeeding. The Committee provides specific recommendations on strategies and action plans to strengthen the protection, promotion and support for breastfeeding. Its objective is to promote breastfeeding as the norm for babycare widely accepted by the community and translate public support into action, thereby creating a breastfeeding-friendly environment conducive to boosting the rate and sustainability of breastfeeding.
Through implementing the initiatives recommended by the Committee, the Government has been promoting breastfeeding with a multi-pronged approach. The initiatives include strengthening publicity and education on breastfeeding; strengthening support for breastfeeding in healthcare institutions and the community; encouraging adoption of the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Policy to support working mothers to continue breastfeeding after returning to work; encouraging public places to become Breastfeeding Friendly Premises and to provide babycare facilities; implementing the HK Code; and strengthening the surveillance on local breastfeeding situation.
The Department of Health (DH) has been promoting breastfeeding through different channels, including (i) providing health information on breastfeeding for parents through organising workshops, producing and distributing educational materials such as booklets and videos, and on the webpage of the DH's Family Health Service (FHS) ; (ii) providing guidance and skill support for breastfeeding mothers through its maternal and child health centres and the breastfeeding hotline; and (iii) organising publicity activities (e.g. broadcasting promotional videos on television and buses and in MTR, advertising on bus bodies and arranging media interviews) to enhance public awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding. Furthermore, the DH has produced a number of related guidelines such as Guide to Establishing Breastfeeding Friendly Premises, Employers Guide to Establishing Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace and An Employee's Guide to Combining Breastfeeding with Work, and uploaded them to its FHS webpage for reference by members of public as well as organisations and public premises interested in implementing breastfeeding-friendly measures. The Info for Nursing Mum App launched by the DH in February 2016 provides relevant online information, including policy and news on breastfeeding, FAQs on breastfeeding and available community resources.
During the period from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2017, five television Announcements in the Public Interest (APIs) and five corresponding radio APIs produced by the DH to promote breastfeeding have been broadcast for 16,468 times on television and 8,974 times on radio, total broadcasting time amounted to 8,234 minutes and 4,487 minutes respectively.
The actual expenditures on promoting breastfeeding for the financial years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 were absorbed by the FHS of the DH, hence no breakdown is available. An additional funding of $5 million per annum was provided for the FHS in the financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17 to further strengthen promotional efforts and to implement the Committee's recommendations. The Government has also set aside a sum of $6 million in the financial year 2017-18 to further step up publicity on breastfeeding. In financial years 2015-16 and 2016-17, the expenditures on producing television and radio APIs were $1.17 million and $0.57 million respectively.
Ends/Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:00
Issued at HKT 12:00