Can Breastfeeding Prevent Childhood Obesity?

Preventing obesity later in life may start with breastfeeding. That’s the conclusion reached by a review of research studies that have been conducted over the past 30 years.

One-Fifth Of American Children Are Obese

Since one-fifth of all American children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is an important finding. Several studies apparently suggest that breastfeeding, as opposed to formula feeding, protects infants from obesity, and also that it prevents obesity later in life.

Obesity Prevention Begins With Breastfeeding

From the Abstract of, “Does Breastfeeding Protect Against Overweight and Obesity in Children? A Review.” by Ruth A. Lawrence MD, DD (Hon)

Obesity has become a national problem. It has a serious impact on health. Precursors of childhood obesity have been studied for decades but often do not start until school age. When the investigation begins during the perinatal period, it is clear that excessive weight gain in pregnancy is a significant contributor. Infant studies dramatically demonstrate the protective constituents of human milk as well as the importance of the process of suckling of the breast in obesity protection. It is concluded that obesity prevention begins with breastfeeding.

Breastfed Babies Can Self-Regulate

Some of the details from the review, as to how breastfeeding protects from obesity, include:

* Breastfed babies take only the amount of nourishment they need;
* Mother’s milk provides all the right nutrients and changes in composition as the baby grows;
* There are a number of hormones related to energy metabolism that are found in breast milk, but not in formula;
* Breast milk is also lower in protein than formula, and some studies have shown that excess protein may related to obesity in infancy.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working to encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life, and to increase the number of babies who are breastfed worldwide.

Not only is breastfeeding a healthier choice for infants, now we know that it can also provide a healthier future for them too!

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William C
William C11 months ago

Thank you.

Deb R.
Past Member 6 years ago

It adds a huge boost the baby's immune system, too.
Breast milk...the ultimate fast food.

neil a.
Neil A7 years ago

Again who are the idiots who think breast feeding should not be encouraged??????????????????????????????????????????

Priscilla G.
Priscilla G7 years ago

Breastfeeding is best for bub and for mum in so many ways, all new mums should be given encouragement to breastfeed, it is a lot cheaper too.

Sarah D.
Sarah D7 years ago

Mother Nature has given breasts many functions but the main function she has always intended them to be for is to feed children.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

Breast feeding also helps the moms lose weight. It would save a ton of money from WIC, because less moms would need formula or only would need to fortify with it, if mom has to go to work. Then instead of giving out $100's of $$'s, the moms could get portable breast pumps to express what they need on breaks. This would actually save a ton of money, because then moms could come to work and be more productive because she has this option.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

Very good post :-) thanx.

jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

Encouraged not forced on.

Kath R.
Kath P7 years ago

Myself and my siblings were all breast feed for at least the first 6 months of our life. All of us were slender until adulthood. Only poor diet and lifestyle has made one of us over weight ;-(

Colin Hope
Colin Hope7 years ago