Breast-feeding protects against infant infections and allergies,
while also promoting optimal neurodevelopment. Limited research
has addressed the potential benefits beyond the first years
of life, although those few studies did suggest an association
between breast-feeding and the biological risk factors for
Further evidence of this potential association comes from
a recent issue of Archives of Disease in Childhood.
A study examined breast-feeding at infancy and its influence
on various factors (glucose tolerance, plasma lipid profiles,
blood pressure and body mass) in 625 subjects now 48-53 years
old. Hospital records provided data on method of infant feeding
(exclusive breast-feeding, partial bottle feeding, or exclusive
bottle feeding) at time of discharge; maternal characteristics
and infant birth weight were also collected.
The authors analyzed the data and concluded: “Exclusive breast-feeding
seems to have a protective effect against some risk factors
for cardiovascular disease in later life.” Ask your doctor
about the many established benefits of breast-feeding, and
find out what you can do before, during and after pregnancy
to maximize the health of your child.
Ravelli ACJ, van der Meulen JHP, Osmond C, et al. Infant
feeding and adult glucose tolerance, lipid profile, blood
pressure and obesity. Archives of Disease in Childhood
2000: Vol. 82, pp248-52.