Mexico City's campaign to promote breast feeding backfires. Shutterstock/Vitalinka

A new health campaign in Mexico City had good intentions when creating an advertisement to promote breastfeeding, but a poorly executed plan has led the ad to receive backlash.

The campaign consists of posters of topless famous female celebrities with a strategically placed banner covering their chest featuring the slogan: "No les des la espalda, dale pecho” in Spanish, which translates to, “Don’t turn you back on them, give them your breast."

There are several factors that are being criticized about the campaign. First and foremost, critics are pointing out that the campaign sexualizes women by showcasing celebrities in prime physical condition. Additionally, the underlying message of the campaign can be perceived to be condescending to women who choose not to breast-feed. Those unhappy with the campaign have pointed out that the ad should have merely highlighted the benefits of breast feeding.

“It’s not only a very terrible campaign in terms of how it looks, but it’s also the message that if you don’t breast-feed, you are a bad mother and you are the one to blame,” said Regina Tames, of the reproductive-rights group GIRE, to NPR.

In Latin America, Mexico has the lowest breast-feeding rates, as a mere 14 percent of women meet the World Health Organization recommended standard of breast-feeding children for the first six months. The rates are low for a various reasons, including: poverty and poor nutrition, women entering the work force, pumping milk at work is frowned upon if not banned and the unregulated baby formula market.

"It shouldn't just be all up to the mother," said Chessa Lutter, the regional adviser for the Pan American Health Organization, to NPR. "You have got to provide that very supportive environment, particularly in a country like Mexico where because it isn't now the normative behavior the government has to take a very strong role."

The goal to increase breast-feeding in Mexico is important since the rates of childhood obesity and breast cancer are rising in the country, and breast-feeding could provide a partial solution. Consider this: Researchers from Okayama University in Japan found that babies who were breast fed were less likely to become obese than those who were fed formula. Other studies have found that breast feeding reduces a woman's risk of breast cancer.

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