Breastfeeding: Weight Disparities

“Just because you were not breast fed for a prolonged period when you were a child, does not mean you are destined for fatness,” explains Dr. Fuhrman. Of course this contradicts a new study citing a link between lower rates of breastfeeding and obesity among minority children in the United States. Reuters reports:
Researchers found that among 739 10- to 19-year-olds, those who had been breastfed for more than four months had a lower average body mass index (BMI), and lower odds of being overweight.

This was true regardless of race or parents' education levels, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. However, the study found, there were disparities when it came to rates of breastfeeding; 40 percent of white adolescents but only 11 percent of black children had been breastfed for at least four months.

There was a similar difference when the researchers looked at parents' education levels, a marker of socioeconomic status. Forty percent of children with college-educated parents had been breastfed for at least four months, versus 18 percent of those with less-educated parents.

"This really does suggest that if we could somehow increase the frequency and duration of breastfeeding in these groups, we could reduce disparities in (obesity)," said researcher Dr. Jessica G. Woo of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Clearly, a rough start is no reason to grow up to live a life of condemned health. “Optimal nutrition and regular rigorous exercise still works and is necessary for optimal health whether you are overweight or not, and whether you were breast fed or not,” insists Dr. Fuhrman.
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