Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Obesity and Diabetes in Offspring

Medical literature suggests enormous advantages of breastfeeding, starting from protection against common infection up to enhancement of development and intelligence of baby.  Breast milk contains all essential nutrients require for your baby to thrive healthy for the first six months of life. Thereafter also breast milk forms important part of baby diet plan.

According to result of new Danish study, breastfeeding slightly lowers the growth of baby and is considered to cut down the risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as overweight and diabetes later in life.

Researchers involved in a PhD project carried out by LIFE –the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, observe that growth pattern of breastfed children is dissimilar when compared to non-breastfed children. Breastfeeding let down the level of the growth hormones IGF-I and insulin in the blood, leading to slightly slower growth of children. This may be the probable reason for decreasing risk of obesity and diabetes in breastfeed children.

The PhD project is constituent of a large-scale Danish study known as ‘SKOT’ project, which has examined small children, their diet and wellbeing. Study has examined 330 healthy children and followed them at 9, 18 and 36 months.The SKOT project has noticed what Danish children eat in the vital phase of transition from breast milk or formula to solids. The move is important because the food intake during this period has substantial impact on the child’s growth and risk of developing lifestyle diseases in future life.

According to PhD Anja Lykke Madsen’s who collected first results of SKOT study, breastfeeding has a crucial and measurable impact on the important growth regulators in the blood such as IGF-I and insulin. Breastfeeding child shows the lower levels of such hormone than non-breastfeed. This is an indicator for a slightly lower risk of obesity in such child in future. Likewise, relationship is also present between longer duration of breastfeeding and child weight at 18 months.

Professor Kim Fleischer Michaelsen from LIFE, head of the SKOT project said,”It is well-known that children who are breastfed grow slightly more slowly than children who are given formula, and it looks as if this growth pattern is optimal because it reduces the risk of developing lifestyle diseases later in life. However, the new results from SKOT show that breastfeeding also affects levels of IGF-I and insulin at 9 months, i.e. at a time when the children are well into eating solids.”

Further he added that, “Looking at the children’s growth up to 18 months identified a number of interesting correlations which may improve our understanding of the mechanisms behind early onset obesity. The longer the children were breastfed, the lower their weight at 18 months. It’s as simple as that.”

The study also exhibited that the children who slept for longer time had lower waistline. Furthermore, mothers who put on excessive weight during pregnancy had children of marginally dense stratum of subcutaneous fat than the children of mothers who gained less weight.

[box type=”note”]Kim Fleischer Michaelsen emphasizes that further follow-up is required to review and keep on examining the children to demonstrate the long-run consequences of breastfeeding and also studying relationship with other studies.[/box]




Dr. Minakshi Welukar

I am Pune based medical doctor (M.B.B.S) and certified medical writer from InfocusRx, Hyderabad, working as a family physician and freelance medical writer for health magazines and websites. Five years of clinical experience faced me to handle variety of patients to get best possible results, keep up-to-date knowledge about new medicinal advances and build-up medical specialist and social contacts.

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