News / Health

Breastfeeding May Reduce Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk

FILE - A large majority of US newborns are breastfed.
FILE - A large majority of US newborns are breastfed.
Jessica Berman
Low birth weight newborns who are breastfed for less than three months may be at higher risk later in life for heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study which measured levels of a biomarker of inflammation in young adults.
 
Researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois analyzed data on levels of an inflammatory marker called c-reactive protein, or CRP, in a large group of young adults, ages 24 to 32. The data were part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 
 
Begun in 1994, the study is the most comprehensive, long-term health survey undertaken to date, following 7,000 teenagers in grades 7 through 12 for more than a decade. The project has spawned hundreds of peer-reviewed studies.
 
Thomas McDade, a professor of anthropology at Northwestern, is the lead author of the latest investigation, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
 
He said young adults who were underweight as babies and those who were only breastfed for a few months, if at all, had higher levels of the inflammatory protein. Chronic inflammation is known to contribute to cardiovascular disease. The effect was the opposite for heavier babies or those that breastfed for longer.
 
“Higher birth weight babies and babies that are breastfed for longer periods of time will have lower levels of inflammation as adults, and that will reduce their risk for heart attack and other diseases of aging,” said McDade.
 
For each additional pound of birth weight, researchers found there was a 5 percent lower concentration of CRP. And c-reactive protein levels were 20 to 30 percent lower in young adults who had been breastfed for three to 12 months.
 
McDade said scientists do not know why that is.  They suspect there’s something in human breast milk that bolsters the immune system.
 
Adult onset diabetes and heart disease have reached epidemic proportions worldwide. That increase followed many decades - during the middle to latter half of the last century - when formula feeding was encouraged. 
 
McDade said many factors are involved in the development of heart disease and diabetes - including diet and genetics - and women today should not feel bad if they choose to use infant formulas.
 
“It puts a lot of responsibility and burden on women who already bear a heavy burden in our society in terms of their responsibility of taking care of our babies and our children.  And we don’t want to do anything that places more blame on them or a higher level of responsibility.  And they shouldn’t feel guilty if they decide not to, or can’t, breastfeed,” said McDade.
 
When measured against previous clinical studies, investigators found breastfeeding had the same or greater benefit as medications used to reduce c-reactive protein in young adults. They say the study results highlight the importance of promoting better pre-natal care and a longer period of breastfeeding as a way to improve public health.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid