Understanding How Breastfeeding Affects Obesity

  • Share
  • Read Later
Sri Maiava Rusden / Getty Images

Recent studies questioned whether breastfeeding can lower rates of obesity among kids, and the latest analysis will only add to the confusion.

Researchers from Okayama University in Japan reported that among 43,300 Japanese children, those who were only breastfeed at six to seven months were less likely to be overweight or obese at ages seven or eight compared to kids who drank formula.

That’s reassuring for advocates of breastfeeding, who have always maintained that the practice has health benefits for both mom and baby that include helping both to keep up healthy weights. But a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in March undermined the association by noting that in a population of babies born in Belarus breastfed babies experienced fewer health issues but were not slimmer than formula fed babies. “There’s a lot of other evidence out there to continue to support breast-feeding, but in terms of breastfeeding reducing obesity, it’s unlikely to be effective,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Richard Martin, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Bristol in the U.K. told TIME.

Currently, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that mothers breastfeed babies exclusively for at least six months in order to avoid diarrheal and infectious diseases and to provide the energy that newborns need in their first few months of life. Both also cite the lower risk of childhood obesity as a reason for supporting breastfeeding and rely on several studies to support their position. In 2011, a paper published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics encouraged mothers to breastfeed in order to combat weight gain among their kids. The researchers wrote that early introduction of solids like cereal or dried baby food was linked to a greater risk of both obesity and food allergies: “Breast milk provides your baby with food that is easy to digest and very nutritious, and your child helps decide how much to eat and when to eat it. Both the breast milk itself and the way your baby feeds help him or her to develop healthy eating patterns. Breastfed babies seem to be better able to regulate their food intake and thus are at lower risk for obesity.”

(MORE20 Ways to Make Breast-Feeding Easier)

Even mothers can benefit from healthier weights while breastfeeding. A 2010 study from University of Pittsburgh suggested that breastfeeding helps moms lose the abdominal fat they gain while pregnant, which is good for nourishing the developing baby, but not so healthy for moms after birth. In TIME’s report on the study, lead investigator Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz at University of Pittsburgh said, “When women don’t breastfeed after pregnancy, or lactation is curtailed or prematurely discontinued, women end up retaining more fat than they would have if they breastfed. Then the mother’s health can suffer.”

Other studies have found breastfed infants have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, higher IQs and even higher social status as adults than their formula-fed counterparts.

The AAP stands by the evidence that breastfeeding can protect against obesity, noting that differences in the way the current study and the earlier one questioning breastfeeding’s influence on weight could explain the conflicting results. “Many of the studies have just looked at any breastfeeding vs. formula feeding and those are the kinds of studies where the evidence is the least strong. It’s really the studies that look at exclusive breastfeeding for about six months that provide the strongest evidence for the link between breastfeeding and obesity protection,” says Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a spokesperson for the AAP and division head of adolescent medicine at Cooper University Hospital.

(MOREIs the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms?)

And Feldman-Winter says it may be that both breastfeeding — with the baby attached to mom’s breast — and the breast milk that may be important in influencing babies’ weight. In suckling, it’s the baby that dictates how much he drinks, whereas with bottle-feeding, whether it’s breast milk or formula, it’s mom that tends to determine when baby has had enough. “A baby who is breastfeeding at the breast will suckle, and some of that time will be spent in nutritive suckling and some of that time in getting nourishment, but a lot of the time babies are suckling at the breast in a non-nutritive way and really self regulating the amount of calories they take in,” she says.

So as confusing as the conflicting studies may seem, Feldman-Winter says the bulk of data still support exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months as a healthy way to feed newborns and keep them at healthy weights when they grow older. That’s not always easy, however, and the debate over breastfeeding continues to ignite controversy in political and social, as well as medical communities. When Newark Mayor Corey Booker recently partnered with Nestle Corporation to tackle childhood obesity, breastfeeding advocates were outraged, since the company manufactures Gerber infant formula, and lactation advocates were concerned the city would start to push formula over breastfeeding. Hospitals regularly ignite controversy by sending mothers home with new baby kits that contain formula-based literature or, in the case of about half of New York City hospitals, educating them about the “Latch on NYC” breastfeeding initiative, in which mothers are only provided formula if medically necessary for their babies.

Such extreme measures may not help new moms to make a decision about breastfeeding; what these mothers need is a more comprehensive post-natal experience that educates them about what they need to know to care for their newborn, including how to either breast or formula feed, and provides them with the freedom to make the decision that’s right for their lifestyles.

57 comments
AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

G. Scott Paterson, 49, has been the Chairman of Symbility's Board of Directors since 2004 when Symbility merged with Automated Benefits to go public on the Toronto Stock Exchange Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Mr. G. Scott Paterson serves as a Partner of Freepour Controls Inc. and Versa Controls. He served as the Chairman of Neulion Incorporated from January 2002 to October 2008 and Chief Executive Officer from May 2005 to October 2007.Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Well, this got me thinking what other workouts are good for those of us who find ourselves on the road or have limited equipment options.401k to gold and silver ira

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Your blogs further more each else volume is so entertaining further serviceable It appoints me befall retreat encore. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.Hull IT Support

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog that's both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important; the issue is something that not enough people are talking intelligently about.Harga Tablet Terbaru

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.Hull IT Support

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work!συμβουλος γαμου

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Regular visits listed here are the easiest method to appreciate your energy, which is why why I am going to the website everyday, searching for new, interesting info. Many, thank you!تور تایلند

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Two full thumbs up for this magneficent article of yours. I've really enjoyed reading this article today and I think this might be one of the best article that I've read yet. Please, keep this work going on in the same quality.https://rebelmouse.com/thedesiresystemreview/

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I don’t have the time at the moment to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.buy real instagram followers

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Richard Crenian is President of Redev Properties Ltd. His accomplishments are many and his failures were few. He believes that you cannot be a good lifeguard if you have not seen and saved a drowning and he applies that to good real estate investing.Visit this site

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Eagle water products can help you save money, time and effort. With our systems, there is no more need to buy bottle water which is better for our environment. Soon, bottle water will be a thing of the past.Click this link

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I’m happy I located this blog! From time to time, students want to cognitive the keys of productive literary essays composing. Your first-class knowledge about this good post can become a proper basis for such people. nice one Cleveland Window Companies

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Very informative post ! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign !hgh pros and cons

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Very nice blog and articles. I am realy very happy to visit your blog. Now I am found which I actually want. I check your blog everyday and try to learn something from your blog. Thank you and waiting for your new post.sell own property

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work!Portable generator Best Price

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.best membership software

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.buy likes

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Writing with style and getting good compliments on the article is quite hard, to be honest.But you've done it so calmly and with so cool feeling and you've nailed the job. This article is possessed with style and I am giving good compliment. Best!หนังx

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Eagle Water Treatment Systems is an international company in the water treatment industry covering residential, commercial and industrial sectors. We were founded over 30 years ago by a man name Dennis Lynch.Click this link

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I am overwhelmed by your post with such a nice topic. Usually I visit your blogs and get updated through the information you include but today’s blog would be the most appreciable. Well done!create social network

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Local drag royalty took the stage at The Observatory and raised $445 for Ride to Conquer Cancer, a cause with campus connections both on and off the stage.Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Local drag royalty took the stage at The Observatory and raised $445 for Ride to Conquer Cancer, a cause with campus connections both on and off the stage.Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Dr. Mak received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto in 1991, which is where he also completed his undergraduate and Masters of Science degree in Molecular Genetics in 1987 and 1997 respectively Click this link

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Specializing in treating diseases of the reproductive and urinary tract, Dr. Victor Mak is a urologist practicing in Richmond Hill, OntarioClick this link

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Dr. Victor Mak currently serves as the Chief of Urology in the Department of Surgery at Mackenzie Health (previously named York Central Hospital) in Richmond Hill, Ontario, a position that he has held since 2007 Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.กล้อง gopro

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job !צילום אירועים

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

You're in point of fact a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a fantastic activity on this subject!צלם לחתונה

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

What a really awesome post this is. Truly, one of the best posts I've ever witnessed to see in my whole life. Wow, just keep it up.best baguio dentist

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I have express a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorite’s blog site list and will be checking back soon…e-penyata gaji

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.Fachanwalt Muenchen

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job !Köpa facebooklikes

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.Fachanwalt Muenchen

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Well, this got me thinking what other workouts are good for those of us who find ourselves on the road or have limited equipment options.is toastmasters helpful

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Dog Training Really Matters

Dogs can be very sociable. In fact, they sometimes get too sociable and get aggressive. That is why it is important to train the dogs to control their behavior.

Moreover, dog trainings are important to avoid dog biting incidents. Statistics show that 77% of dog biting cases are mostly those that are within the family.

Hence, with dog training, bad habits are removed and dogs have better control with their feelings and behavior towards environmental and social variables.dog training

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.tableau déco

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.Shisha Pens Direct

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Dr. Victor Mak is an Ontario-based urologist who is one of only a handful of urologists in Canada with formal, post-graduate fellowship training in the subspecialty field of male reproduction, andrology/sexual function and microsurgery of the genito-urinary tract Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Blair MacDougall is a Canadian oil and gas engineer and consultant with nearly twenty years of experience in the offshore drilling industry. Following a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Mathematics.Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Since 1994, Blair MacDougall has worked for energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, EnCana, Marathon and Devon on both development projects and exploration campaigns.Article

calvinbrock735
calvinbrock735

Yes, great US Military force. Also, in his post you have given a chance to listen about US Military. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing it.  Hermes sac a main

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Peter is founder and Chairman of Hampton Securities, a leading Canadian investment firm that focuses on three areas of investment interest: private wealth management, global institutional trading and investment banking.Click here

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I have express a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorite’s blog site list and will be checking back soon…Fluorescent Yellow label sheet

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

I have express a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorite’s blog site list and will be checking back soon…north point city

AfiaKhan
AfiaKhan

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.Bulk SMS Maharashtra