Breastfeeding For More Than A Year Lowers Risk Of Metabolic Syndrome

Mothers who breastfeed longer may lower their risk of metabolic syndrome and related disorders including high blood pressure and high cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

AsianScientist (Feb. 21, 2017) – Women who spend a longer time breastfeeding over the course of their lifetimes may be able to lower their risk of metabolic syndrome and related disorders included elevated blood pressure, glucose, and triglyceride levels. These findings have been published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Breastfeeding can help babies fight off infections and could also help prevent allergies and obesity. There are benefits to breastfeeding for mothers too; it has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Despite these benefits, only two fifths of babies worldwide are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life as recommended by the World Health Organization.

In a study of more than 4,700 Korean women, researchers from Hallym University have found that life-long breastfeeding of 12 months or longer was associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that raise the risk of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The researchers divided the women into four groups—less than five months of breastfeeding, 6-11 months, 12-23 months or more than 24 months—and assessed the risk of developing metabolic syndrome or its component disorders based on the life-long duration of breastfeeding. They found that the duration of breastfeeding is associated with decreased risk of individual components of metabolic syndrome such as blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol.

“The advantageous effects of breastfeeding for newborns and babies are well established, and this study, which suggests that breastfeeding may protect the mother against metabolic syndrome, further adds to the evidence base supporting the benefits of breastfeeding for maternal health,” said Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Women’s Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health, and President of the Academy of Women’s Health.

The article can be found at: Choi et al. (2017) Association Between Duration of Breast Feeding and Metabolic Syndrome: The Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.


Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc; Photo: Shutterstock.
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