Breastfeeding and Obesity

A popular headline kicking around the news today is the claim that breastfeeding won’t prevent children from becoming fat. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports:
While breast-feeding has many benefits, it won't prevent a child from becoming fat as an adult, says a new study that challenges dogma from U.S. health officials.

The research is the largest study to date on breast-feeding and its effect on adult obesity.

"I'm the first to say breast-feeding is good. But I don't think it's the solution to reducing childhood or adult obesity," said the study's lead author, Karin Michels of Harvard Medical School.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promotes breast-feeding as a way to reduce children's excess weight, and the guidelines for federal chronic disease prevention grants to states call for breast-feeding promotion. Some health officials say 15 to 20 percent of obesity could be prevented through breast-feeding.
Now, this one kind of stumped me. I didn’t know how to react, so, I asked the man. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about the research—the word blunt, comes to mind. Take a look:
So what? Why would we expect early life breast feeding to make us immune to eating the American junk food diet? You are what you eat and everything that goes into your mouth makes a difference. Nature is not that forgiving. You develop diseases down the road from the poor food choices you made at an earlier time.
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Pat Shelly - June 29, 2009 6:23 PM

HI! Please pass this on to Dr, F, since breastfeeding DOES impact childhood obesity in several ways (all supported by research). Also please thank him for the great conference!

* Fat content of breastmilk varies thruout the feed and thruout the day, as well as varies with interval between feedings, so the child fed "on demand" learns to regulate his fat intake.
* Less likely to overfeed since the volume is regulated by the baby
* Leptin in breastmilk

Unfortunately, other facts are also true. Breastmilk is a magnet for the fats mother consumes so a diet high in trans fats or animal fats will be transmitted to the baby. And, babies taste their mother's diet and can develope a taste for carrots or beef......

Thanks for doing this blog! Nurse Shelly IBCLC, RNC, MA
Director Brastfeeding Center for Greater Washington

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