Cornell University Study Finds Breastfeeding for a Longer Time Can Reduce the Risk of Obesity

CornellLogo-fullA new study by nutritional scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, finds that infants at high risk for childhood and adult obesity are less likely to become obese if they breastfeed longer than two months. The study examined nearly 600 children who were born to women with risk factors that could lead to childhood obesity such as a high body mass index, gestational weight gain, smoking during pregnancy, low levels of education, postpartum stress, and the lack of social support.

IMG_2287.JPG copyStacy J. Carling, a doctoral student in nutritional science and the lead author of the research, stated that “our study is the first to show that stopping breastfeeding too soon tips the scale for at-risk children. Infants who breastfed for two months or less were 2.5 times more likely to add weight rapidly, compared to similar high-risk children who breastfed longer.”

“Breastfeeding, especially on demand (versus on a schedule), allows an infant to feed when he/she is hungry, thereby fostering an early development of appetite control,” Carling says. “When a baby breastfeeds, she can control how much milk she gets and how often, naturally responding to internal signals of hunger and satiation.”

The research, “Breastfeeding Duration and Weight Gain Trajectory in Infancy,” was published on the website of the journal Pediatrics. It may be downloaded here.

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