The breast truly is best for infant health, but many women still choose to forgo natural breastfeeding in favor of powdered, unnatural baby formulas that often contain GMOs. Yet another study has been released with detailing why breastfeeding is better for babies, and this time it has to do with childhood obesity.
Japanese researchers looked at information of 43,000 children and how what they were fed in their first months affected how much they weighed later in childhood.
According to the Daily Mail, around 20% of the children were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. When compared with formula-feeding, breastfeeding during these crucial, formative months significantly slashed the risk of becoming an overweight or even obese child.
Published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the study indicated those children breastfed in the first six months were 15% less likely to be overweight and 45% less likely to be obese at age seven. At the age of eight, the risk of being obese was even further slashed—to 55%.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the breastfeeding of newborn American infants rose from 74.6% in 2008 to 76.9% in 2009—the largest annual increase in over a decade. Breastfeeding as infants grow has also increased, from 44.3% to 47.2% at six months, and from 23.8% to 25.5% at 12 months.
One report from Save the Children, called Superfood for Babies, indicates that breastfeeding newborns could save around 830,000 lives each and every year. The report is specifically focused on breastfeeding in those crucial days and even hours after a child is born.
Study after study indicates breast milk is better for babies than the canned formulas—better for their immune health, their weight, and even with their intelligence. Overall, breastfeeding was tied to an improvement of 0.21 point on language tests after mother’s intelligence and other factors like family income were taken into account.
While breastfeeding is a mother’s choice and may not be possible in all situations, it has proven again and again to be the healthiest choice in most situations.
In the United States, obesity affects about 17% of all children and while breastfeeding is back on the rise, there is still improvements to be made.