It would appear that one of the benefits that had previously been attributed to breastfeeding is, in the words of Basketball Wives, a non-motherfucking factor. According to a new study, breastfeeding does not lower a child's chance of being overweight or obese by the time they're pre-teens.
The study, conducted in Belarus, involved about 14,000 healthy infants and their mothers. A portion of mother-baby pairs was put into a breastfeeding intervention program developed by the World Health Organiztaion/UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative that encouraged the practice, while the rest (a controle group) went about their business, without the encouragement.
At 3 months, intervention babies were 43.3 percent exclusively breast-fed compared to 6.4 percent of the control group, and 51.9 and 28.3 percent predominantly breast-fed respectively. Rates dropped at 6 months to 7.9 percent and 0.6 percent for exclusive breast-feeding respectively, and predominant breast-feeding was only 10.6 percent of intervention mothers compared to 1.6 of control mothers. A year after birth, 19.7 percent of the intervention mothers and 11.4 percent of the mothers with no instruction were still breast-feeding at any amount.
Revisiting the children 11.5 years later, researchers found that there was no significant difference in weight between kids whose mothers exclusively breastfed and the group whose mothers were allowed to choose. About 15 percent of kids were overweight and 5 percent were obese in both groups.
While the study's lead author Dr. Richard Martin, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Bristol in the UK, was sure to sing the praises of all the other benefits of breastfeeding, and that public health efforts should continue to "promote, protect, and support it," he admitted that as far as preventing obesity, breastfeeding is "unlikely to be effective."
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