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Newborn Care: NBreastfeeding and Childhood Obesity

A recent study showed that newborns and babies who are breast fed and weaned onto solid food later have a much lower risk of obesity at nine years old. The government funded study from Ireland involved almost 20,000 children and their families.

The study showed that children exclusively breast fed for three to six months were 38 per cent less likely to be obese at nine years old compared to exclusively formula fed children. The newborns that were exclusively breast fed for six months or longer were 51 percent less likely to be obese at nine compared to the formula fed group.

Prior research has found that breast fed newborns and babies gain height and weight more slowly then bottle fed babies. Rapid weight gain in early life has links with childhood obesity and adult cardiovascular disease.

The study was performed in Ireland, where almost 25% of nine year olds are overweight or obese. Not surprisingly, Ireland has the lowest breastfeeding rate in Europe.

The short term benefits of breastfeeding your newborn is well documented and understood, but this study highlights some long term benefits for your children.


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