Breastfeeding may not reduce obesity risk
March 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET

Breastfeeding may not reduce obesity risk

We've heard a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding, and the idea that it reduces the risk of a child becoming overweight or obese has been around for decades.

But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association contradicts that idea. It suggests that though breastfeeding has many benefits, reducing the likelihood that a child becomes obese or overweight may not be one of them. The evidence to support this conclusion is strong as the study was based on a large randomized controlled trial.


This study was conducted in Belarus at maternity hospitals and the clinics affiliated with them.

Researchers initially looked at information about more than 17,000 pairs of mothers and infants who were breastfeeding. Of them, about 14,000 participated in the follow-up period between January 2008 and December 2010; the children by that time were around 11 years old.

Only healthy, singleton babies who were born weighing at least 2,500 grams (5.5 pounds) were included in the research. Their mothers had initiated breastfeeding and didn't have any conditions that could impact their ability to breastfeed.


This was a randomized controlled study, meaning it is unlikely that other factors besides the breastfeeding intervention influenced the outcomes, said Richard M. Martin, lead study author based at the University of Bristol's School of Social and Community Medicine.

Sixteen of the health facilities were randomly chosen to receive a breastfeeding intervention based on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund developed. This initiative helps mothers to start breastfeeding soon after birth and demonstrates breastfeeding to new mothers.

The other 15 clinics did not receive the intervention. Instead, they proceeded with their standard practices, which included early introduction of non-breast liquids and promoting scheduled breastfeeding rather than breastfeeding on demand. "The mothers weren’t encouraged to breastfeed early on," Martin said.


Those who received the intervention were more likely to breastfeed longer, compared to those who were not exposed to the breastfeeding initiative.  At 3 months, babies whose mothers received the intervention were seven times more likely to be exclusively breastfed, and twice as likely to be predominantly breastfed.

When the children were older, researchers didn't find a significant difference in the weight of the children. Breastfeeding also did not appear to influence levels of later-life serum insulin-like growth factor, a natural chemical that regulates a child's stature and body composition.


Although the intervention appeared to promote breastfeeding, it did not appear to lower the prevalence of children who were overweight or obese. Keep in mind Belarus has a lower incidence of obesity than the United States.

Previous research published by Martin and colleagues from the same trial did document benefits of breastfeeding. They found that in the first year of life, children who were breastfed others had less-frequent gastrointestinal infections and eczema than those who were not. Around age 6, they tended to have higher scores on IQ tests.

"Efforts to promote, protect and support breastfeeding should continue," Martin said.

But for policy-makers aiming to reduce the levels of obesity across a population, they may want to focus on other efforts; breastfeeding may not be an effective one, Martin said.

soundoff (820 Responses)
  1. RV TV Los Angeles

    Can I simply say what a relief to uncover somebody who genuinely understands what they're talking about on the net. You definitely realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people should look at this and understand this side of the story. I can't believe you are not more popular since you definitely have the gift.


    May 12, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sprinter Service Near Me

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely pleased I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!


    May 12, 2021 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. bucket truck band


    May 12, 2021 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. tv mounting service orange county

    This web site truly has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 12, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv restoration near me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It's the little changes which will make the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!


    May 12, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. camper repair places near me


    May 12, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Repair Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Automatic Transmission


    May 12, 2021 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. fiberglass shop near me

    I seriously love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you create this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own personal site and want to know where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thank you!


    May 13, 2021 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 2003 Dodge Sprinter Repair

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that produce the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 13, 2021 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv renovation companies


    May 13, 2021 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Repair Cost On Mercedes Sprinter Van

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!


    May 13, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. bucket truck troubleshooting


    May 13, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. orange county california rv parks


    May 13, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv doctor near me


    May 13, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Storage Near Me

    This page certainly has all of the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 13, 2021 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Countertops California


    May 13, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. windshield repair orange county

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a superb article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't manage to get anything done.


    May 13, 2021 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. rv slide out remodel


    May 14, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. one stop shoppe

    Right here is the right site for everyone who wants to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    May 14, 2021 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV AC Orange County

    Hey there! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your excellent info you have got right here on this post. I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.


    May 14, 2021 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. motor home furnishings

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 14, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. collision repair raleigh

    Thank You for your information


    May 14, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. bus body shop


    May 14, 2021 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. truck shop orange county california

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your blog.


    May 14, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. house for sale spirit lake


    May 14, 2021 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. homes for sale athol idaho


    May 14, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Maserati Forum

    This is the perfect web site for anyone who would like to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject that's been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just excellent!


    May 14, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. nearest homes for sale


    May 14, 2021 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. realtors twin lakes


    May 14, 2021 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 1985 Maserati Biturbo


    May 15, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. raleigh collision repair

    Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.


    May 15, 2021 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. payday loans consolidation

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.


    May 15, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. property for sale sandpoint idaho

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    May 15, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Honest Air

    Fairly high-quality explanation. continue the good work


    May 15, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. houses for sale post falls id


    May 15, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. AC Repair Warrenton VA

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You're doing a great job Man,Keep it up.


    May 15, 2021 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. motorhome repair

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this blog.


    May 15, 2021 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Pet Odor Removal Spokane

    very nice! Ireally like your blog


    May 15, 2021 at 08:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. residential roofing Hainesport

    carry on, dont stop


    May 15, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Go Pro Locksmith Palo Alto

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful


    May 15, 2021 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. camper fiberglass repair

    I really love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal website and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Thank you!


    May 15, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. home for sale sandpoint id

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this issue. I love all of the points you have made.


    May 15, 2021 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. HVAC Warrenton VA

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!


    May 15, 2021 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Fence Builder Baton Rouge LA

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!


    May 15, 2021 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Mc12 Maserati

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 15, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. commercial roofing Hainesport

    Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?


    May 15, 2021 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Flooring Company Pittsburgh PA

    Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.


    May 15, 2021 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Go Pro Locksmith Palo Alto

    Wow this blog is very nice!


    May 15, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. emergency locksmith St. Louis

    Thank You for your information


    May 15, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. hvac Installation Tan Valley

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!


    May 15, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Leave a Reply to RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.