Breastfeeding May Influence Food Choices in Adulthood
Researchers have found that breastfeeding not only leads to healthy babies, but it may also lead to healthier adults. While previous studies have suggested that children who were breastfed have lower risk for cardiovascular disease in adulthood, mechanisms involved are not known.
A recent study supports one possible explanation for the beneficial effects of breastfeeding that extends to adulthood which suggests that children who were breastfed differ in their health behaviors. To examine this, a research team looked into a historical cohort on adult health behaviors in relation to type of milk feeding in infancy. Researchers looked into the records of all infants born in Hertfordshire, UK from1931 to 1939. They were classified according to the type of milk feeding they received in infancy, which was summarized as breastfed only, breast and bottle-fed, or bottle-fed only. Next, the investigators collected information on more than 3000 men and women who are now aged 59–73 years old. Health behaviors such as dietary patterns, smoking status, alcohol intake and physical activity were recorded.
The results of the study show that 60 % of the men and women were breastfed, 31 % received both mother’s milk and bottled milk, and 9 % were purely bottle-fed. They observed that the type of milk feeding did not differ according to social class at birth, or to the social class attained in adult life. Although they found no differences in smoking status, alcohol intake or reported physical activity according to type of milk feeding, they noted that there were differences in the participants’ dietary patterns. They found independent associations between type of feeding and prudent (healthy) diet scores in adult life, such that adults who were breast fed as infants had higher scores in terms of dietary patterns.
Richards, B. Breastfed Children Have Better Appetite Control as Adults. Wellness Resources.
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