Saturday, April 03, 2010

Breastfeeding reduces diabetes risk

There may be something in this but it may also show that people who have poorer health anyway -- perhaps working class mothers or mothers who lead risky lifestyles -- are less likely to breastfeed

MOTHERS who do not breastfeed have a 50 per cent increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes later in life compared with childless women, Australian research has found.

But a mother's likelihood of developing type-2 diabetes was slashed by 14 per cent for every year of breastfeeding, the researchers said.

Lead author Bette Liu, of the University of Western Sydney, said the research involved more than 52,000 women selected randomly from the Australian national universal health insurance database.

About 89 per cent of the women had given birth at least once and 6 per cent had been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes.

All were recruited in 2008 as part of Australia's 45-and-up study.

Dr Liu said breastfeeding a child for three months reduced a mother's risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

The researchers took into account factors such as a woman's age, family history of type-2 diabetes, body mass index, smoking, and alcohol consumption.


Breastfeeding a lifesaver?

The above study is a recent one from Australia. Below is another study from last year in the USA with even more extravagant claims. The same doubts apply -- plus the additional doubt that the data consists of self-reports about events in the distant past. Now that breastfeeding is very fashionable in the USA, maybe elderly middle class mothers exaggerated the degree to which they breastfed in their youth

WOMEN who breastfeed their babies for as little as a month are protecting themselves against heart disease, stroke and even heart attacks in later life, research shows. A study of almost 140,000 women found those who breastfed for more than a year were 10 per cent less likely to develop the conditions than women who had never breastfed.

But even breastfeeding for a month could help cut the chances of women developing diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are all linked to heart disease.

University of Pittsburgh researchers studied women who had gone through menopause; most of whom had not breastfed for 30 years. Those who breastfed for more than a year in total were 12 per cent less likely to have high blood pressure, about 20 per cent less likely to have diabetes and high cholesterol and 10 per cent less likely to have heart disease than women who never breastfed.

"We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies' health, we now know it is important for mothers' health as well," report co-author Eleanor Bimla Schwartz said. "The longer a mother nurses her baby, the better for both of them. "Our study provides another good reason for workplace policies to encourage women to breastfeed their infants."

Other studies have shown breastfeeding helps protect mothers against ovarian and breast cancer and osteoporosis in later life.

"These findings build on a growing body of literature that demonstrates that lactation has beneficial effects on blood pressure, risk of developing diabetes and lipid metabolism," Dr Schwartz said


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