Breastfeeding may protect against obesity in early life

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New CHILD Study research has found that infants who are breastfed have a reduced risk of being overweight in the first year of life—and that the protective association is stronger with longer and more exclusive breastfeeding.

“We found that the risk of overweight at 12 months of age was over three times higher among infants who were not breastfed compared with infants who were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life,” said study lead Dr. Meghan Azad.

The study, published in the October 2018 isue of Pediatrics, looked at both body mass index (BMI) and the rate of infant weight gain—an important predictor of future obesity and cardiovascular health. It used data from more than 2,500 infants and their mothers participating in the CHILD Study.

The study also found that the method of feeding breastmilk matters, and it uniquely distinguished between partial breastfeeding mixed with formula versus partial breastfeeding mixed with foods.

Press release