Breast milk lowers obesity risk later in life

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Washington: Researchers have found that breast-feeding has a protective effect on the risk of obesity at 20 years of age.

From analysis of data from the ELANCE cohort, Marie Francoise Rolland-Cachera, former researcher at Inserm and her co-workers in the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN) have shown that nutritional intake at the age of 2 years are critical in providing this beneficial effect.

Recent studies have focused on the influence of breastfeeding on the risk of the child developing obesity: results showed beneficial but still inconclusive trends.

They adjusted their results by considering various factors such as social categories, the weight of parents, age of diversification, etc. but until now no study had made adjustment for nutritional intakes subsequent to breast-feeding.

It has now been shown that nutrition during the first two years of life had long-term consequences on health that can persist into adulthood.

The results show that the beneficial effect of breast-feeding is clearly seen when nutritional intake up to the age of 2 is considered and is significantly linked to a reduction in body fat at 20 years old. Furthermore, in the statistical model, higher fat intake at 2 years are linked to a reduction in fat mass at 20 years.

The study is published in The Journal of Pediatrics.