Breastfeeding appears to be associated with decreased risk of overweight and obesity among school children in Japan, according to a study by Michiyo Yamakawa, M.H.Sc., of the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama City, Japan, and colleagues.
A total of 43,367 singleton Japanese children who were born after 37 gestational weeks and had information about their feeding during infancy from Japan's Longitudinal Survey of Babies in the 21st Century, were included in the study. 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.
According to the study results, with adjustment for children's factors (sex, television viewing time, and computer game playing time) and maternal factors (educational attainment, smoking status, and working status), 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 concludes.
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JAMA Pediatr. Published online August 12, 2013. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2230