Skip to content

Children's Health

Breastfeeding Might Not Prevent Pre-Teen Obesity

Nursing exclusively has no effect on later weight, but many other benefits exist
Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Breast-feeding has many benefits, but preventing overweight and obesity later in a child's life probably isn't among them, according to a new study.

The study included nearly 14,000 children from Belarus whose mothers were involved in a study to promote exclusive breast-feeding for longer periods. When the researchers checked on the children around age 11, they found that breast-feeding duration and exclusivity didn't make a difference in child's later weight.

Still, the study authors pointed out that breast-feeding has many advantages, and mothers should still be encouraged to breast-feed their infants.

"Although breast-feeding is unlikely to stem the current obesity epidemic, its other advantages are amply sufficient to justify continued public health efforts to promote, protect and support it," said the study's lead author, Richard Martin, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Bristol in England.

Results of the study appear in the March 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The children in the study were initially recruited with their mothers for a study designed to assess a breast-feeding intervention program. The breast-feeding program was based on the World Health Organization/Unicef Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which promotes exclusive breast-feeding and breast-feeding for longer periods of time.

Some of the practices included in the breast-feeding program included having a written breast-feeding policy, showing mothers how to initiate and maintain breast-feeding, having babies in the same room as their mothers 24 hours a day, and giving no pacifiers to the infants, Martin said.

The study included 31 hospitals in Belarus, a country in eastern Europe. Infants and their mothers were randomly selected to be in the breast-feeding-promotion group or in a group given the hospital's usual care.

The intervention substantially increased the duration of exclusive breast-feeding, according to the study. At 3 months, 43 percent of women in the intervention group were exclusively breast-feeding their babies, compared to 6 percent of those in the usual-care group. At 6 months, about 8 percent of women from the breast-feeding-program group were still breast-feeding exclusively, versus less than 1 percent of the usual-care group.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool