Preventing Obesity through Breastfeeding
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
With obesity on the rise, it is increasingly important to be aware of ways that can decrease this epidemic. According to a study conducted through the World Health Organization, breastfeeding decreases the rate of obesity by 25%. This study involved 16 countries and more than 30,000 children whose weights were consistently monitored while growing up. With the rise of obesity worldwide, but especially within the United States, this is an incredibly important concept that mothers should be aware of.
Interestingly enough, 16.8% of mothers that never breastfed were found to be obese, compared to only 13.2% of mothers that had breastfed at some point. More significantly, infants that were breastfed for 6 months or more had a mere 9.3% prevalence rate of obesity.
Internationally, the recommendations for breastfeeding are as follows:
- Mothers should breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months of life and then continue breastfeeding with the addition of complimentary foods for approximately 2 years.
- For clarification, exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant never receives anything besides breastmilk until the time for complimentary foods (such as formula, sugar water, water, etc.).
We bring this information to our blog because many women do not receive the education and support needed to initiate/continue breastfeeding through infancy. Unfortunately, due to the lack of education for our mothers, breastfeeding rates may not increase as fast as we would like. Therefore, more support and/or education should be provided to women before and after their pregnancy to promote and support breastfeeding as a public health concern. Click here, to see how Mamas Maternal Health can support you!
Reference: The World Health Organization and https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/apr/30/breastfeeding-reduces-child-obesity-risk-by-up-to-25-who-finds