Exclusive Breastfeeding for at Least Four Months Is Associated with a Lower Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in Mothers and Their Children after 2–5 Years from Delivery
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INTRODUCTION: Obesity is a current public health concern. Higher body weight is influenced by genetic and environmental parameters, and their interplay and is associated with a greater risk for several chronic diseases. Breastfeeding has been suggested as a preventive measure against obesity, which can further reduce long-term negative health outcomes for both women and children. AIM: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the role of breastfeeding on maternal and childhood overweight and obesity. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study conducted on 2515 healthy mothers and their children, aged 2-5 years, enrolled from nine different Greek rural and urban regions. Validated, standardized questionnaires were administrated that included anthropometric indices, socio-demographic characteristics of mothers and children, as well as breastfeeding practices. RESULTS: Overall, 68% of participated women exclusively breastfed their children for at least 4 months. Mothers that exclusively breastfed showed a significantly lower prevalence of overweight and obesity after 2-5 years from delivery (p < 0.0001). Children that had exclusively been breastfed showed a significantly lower prevalence of overweight and obesity at the age of 2-5 years (p < 0.0001). Using multivariate regression analysis, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months was associated with a two-fold lower risk for maternal and childhood overweight and obesity after 2-5 years from delivery, independent from maternal age, educational and economic status, and smoking habits (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months had a positive effect on childhood overweight and obesity, also contributing beneficially to post-natal maternal weight control. The beneficial effects of breastfeeding should be communicated to future and new mothers, while supportive actions for all mothers to initiate and continue breastfeeding their offspring should be implemented.
Medicine and Health Sciences
Breastfeeding, Overweight, Obesity, Body mass index, Childhood obesity
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Mantzorou, Maria; Papandreou, Dimitrios; Vasios, Georgios K.; Pavlidou, Eleni; Antasouras, Georgios; Psara, Evmorfia; Taha, Zainab; Poulios, Efthymios; and Giaginis, Constantinos, "Exclusive Breastfeeding for at Least Four Months Is Associated with a Lower Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity in Mothers and Their Children after 2–5 Years from Delivery" (2022). All Works. 5363.
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Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series