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LLLI Center for Breastfeeding Information

Journal Abstract of the Month for May 2005

"Overweight in Children and Adolescents"

Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD; Donna K. Arnett, PhD; Robert H. Eckel, MD; Samuel S. Gidding, MD; Laura L. Hayman, PhD, RN; Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, RD; Thomas N. Robinson, MD, MPH; Barbara J. Scott, RD, MPH; Sachiko St. Jeor, PhD; Christine L. Williams, MD, MPH

Circulation 2005; 111:1999-2012.

This American Heart Association Scientific Statement discusses how the prevalence of overweight in children and adolescents has increased. Several studies have demonstrated that initiation and duration of breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of obesity in childhood and adolescence. Exclusive breastfeeding is the ideal nutrition for the first six months, with complementary foods introduced gradually after that. But, statistically, few babies are exclusively breastfed for six months. Duration of breastfeeding is also affected by barriers to certain subgroups, such as cultural norms that discourage breastfeeding in public or certain workplace policies. There are other behavioral and socioeconomic factors that may underlie even the decision to breastfeed and thus increase the risk of later obesity.

Increasing the initiation and duration rates of breastfeeding is mentioned as part of the list of strategies to reduce obesity. Also included are reducing television and video game use, increasing physical activity by replacing standard physical education curricula with more motivating activities such as endurance training and popular dance, regulation of food advertisements on children’s television, dietary modifications; and family involvement in gardening, meal planning, shopping and food preparation.

With metabolic, orthopedic, cardiovascular, psychological, neurological, hepatic, pulmonary and renal problems listed that stem from childhood obesity; it is important to look to breastfeeding as an important element in the prevention of the development of obesity.

This paper is being categorized with the following KEYWORDS:
Obesity, Statements, Initiation, Duration

This article is available at this link.

Additional Information:

Check out the Additional Information from the CBI (Center for Breastfeeding Information) page on the La Leche League International Web site for the 2005 American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk" and the Selected Bibliography on Breastfeeding and Obesity which gives additional research on the connection between increased breastfeeding and reduced obesity.

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