Breastfeeding is linked to a reduced risk of obesity among school children, according to a new Japanese study.
Michiyo Yamakawa, of the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama City, Japan, and colleagues studied a total of 43,367 singleton Japanese children who were born after 37 gestational weeks.
They collected information about their feeding during infancy from Japan’s Longitudinal Survey of Babies in the 21st Century.
Researchers measured for underweight, normal weight (reference group), overweight, and obesity at 7 and 8 years of age defined by using international cutoff points of body mass index by sex and age.
The study adjusted for children’s factors (sex, television viewing time, and computer game playing time) and maternal factors (educational attainment, smoking status, and working status).
They found exclusive breastfeeding at 6 to 7 months of age was associated with decreased risk of overweight and obesity compared with formula feeding.
“After adjusting for potential confounders, we demonstrated that breastfeeding is associated with decreased risk of overweight and obesity among school children in Japan, and the protective association is stronger for obesity than overweight,” the study concluded.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.