Children exposed to diabetes or obesity during gestation are at higher risk for childhood obesity and metabolic diseases, but these risks can be offset with breastfeeding, say Colorado School of Public Health medicos.
For the study, epidemiologist Tessa Crume tracked 94 children of diabetic pregnancies and 399 of non-diabetic pregnancies from birth to age 13. She evaluated the influence of breastfeeding on body mass index (BMI), an indicator of childhood obesity.
She found that children of diabetic pregnancies who were breast-fed had a slower BMI growth as they grew older than those who nursed less than six months. A similar pattern emerged for children of non-diabetic pregnancies.
"Researchers know that children exposed to diabetes or obesity during gestation are at higher risk for childhood obesity and metabolic diseases. Now they know there is a second critical opportunity to normalize BMI growth by encouraging mothers to breast-feed for at least six months. Breast-feeding support represents an important clinical and public health strategy to reduce the risk of childhood obesity," she noted.
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Source: University of Colorado Denver