Breastfeeding does not stop obesity

Tags: pregnancy

The chances of children becoming overweight or obese aren't cut by breastfeeding, new research suggests.

The study found it had no effect on childrens' bodyweight despite previous research suggesting that being breastfed for more than three months may lessen the chances of a child becoming obese.

But the researchers stressed that the youngsters who had been breastfed as infants still benefited from less gastrointestinal infections. They were also found to have better brain development by the age of six-and-a-half and to have suffered less episodes of infantile eczema.

Researchers at the University of Bristol - led by clinical epidemiology expert Professor Richard Martin - looked at data from 14,000 healthy children from Belarus with the results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study authors said schemes in Belarus which had encouraged more mothers to breastfeed their babies for longer had not prevented children from becoming overweight or obese. They had not been found to affect levels of an insulin-like growth factor in children of eleven-and-a-half, they said.

But the authors added: "Nevertheless, breastfeeding has many health advantages for the offspring."

Copyright Press Association 2013

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