Obesity Risks Reduced By Longer Breastfeeding?

Obesity risk in later life appears to be more slim when babies are fed solid food at a later age, according to one study.

The debate about how long to breastfeed has gone on for some time. But now, new research indicates that mothers who wait until their baby’s fifth month to introduce solid food may reduce the child’s risk of obesity later in life.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen looked at a sample of more than 5,000 adults who were born between the years 1959 and 1961. The common wisdom of that time was to begin feeding a child solid food between the ages of four and six months old – but some parents began sooner than four months.

Some of the children had only been breast-fed until they were two and a half months old.

Researchers discovered that among the sample participants, body mass index was lower and healthier among the people who had been breastfed until they were at least four months old. The participants were all in their forties at the time of the study, and yet the researchers were able to determine that the odds of being overweight had been lessened 5 to 10 percent for each month they were not fed solid food.

These findings are consistent with other medical opinions. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast feeding up to age one, and the World Health Organization recommends it for at least six months.

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2 Responses

  1. kate

    Please report this correctly — the World Health Organization does not recommend breastfeeding “for six months”; it recommends breastmilk be the ONLY food for six months, after which solids may be introduced. It recommends breastfeeding for two years at a minimum. Most American women don’t even begin to reach this length of nursing, but it’s the norm in many parts of the world and appears to be best for the human child.

  2. Ana

    Please correct the last sentence: the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding to SIX MONTHS, not a year. *Total* breastfeeding for a minimum of a year, but not *exclusive*.

    I’d LOVE to share this article, but can’t do it with that incorrect statement.