Adequate Breast-Feeding Tied to Less Childhood Adiposity

March 2, 2011

Adequate breast-feeding of a baby exposed to diabetes in utero may protect against childhood adiposity, according to a study published in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adequate breast-feeding of a baby exposed to diabetes in utero may protect against childhood adiposity, according to a study published in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

Tessa L. Crume, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado Denver in Aurora, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to evaluate whether the risk of increased childhood adiposity associated with exposure to diabetes in utero was affected by breast-feeding. Eighty-nine children exposed to diabetes in utero and 379 unexposed children were divided into two groups based on breast-feeding status: low (less than six months), and adequate (at least six months). Adiposity was measured by body mass index (BMI), subscapular-to-triceps skinfold ratio (STR), waist circumference, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT).

The investigators found that, at ages 6 to 13, adequate breast-feeding was associated with significantly lower BMI, waist circumference, SAT, and VAT compared to those with low breast-feeding status. For youth exposed to diabetes in utero, BMI, waist circumference, VAT, and STR were all significantly higher for those with low breast-feeding status. Among youth in the adequate breast-feeding group, exposure to diabetes in utero did not have a significant impact on the outcomes of childhood adiposity.

"Our study found no deleterious effects of breast-feeding among a diverse group of children exposed to diabetes in utero. In contrast, we suggest that breast-feeding may be protective against the increased childhood adiposity associated with intrauterine diabetes exposure," the authors write.

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