Healthy Weight Children Begins In Infancy
It’s never too early to think about strategies to protect your newborn from dangerous weight gain and obesity. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated a significantly reduced risk for unhealthy weight gain among children who are breast fed. In recent years several large meta-analysis studies have examined the relationship between breast feeding and what is termed “pediatric overweight”. Three of these studies compared many other clinical studies that have been published over the years in order to reach their conclusions. In some, breast feeding is associated with healthier weight children and less development of overweight and obesity. The duration of breast feeding is also significant and for each month of breast feeding up to age nine months, the odds of the child becoming overweight decrease by around 4%. Interestingly the protection against the child becoming overweight continues on into the teenage years and even adulthood.
There are many important reasons why breast feeding is healthy for both mother and baby. Infants experience less illness and receive important hormones and antibodies from the mother. Children have less ear infections, less diarrhea illnesses, less incidents of sudden infant death syndrome and many other health events. Mothers experience less postpartum depression, type II diabetes and less breast and ovarian cancers.
The United States Surgeon General recommends breast feeding for the first six months of an infant’s life for all of these reasons. To get the best start in preventing childhood obesity, I recommend breast feeding your infant through the first six months of life.