One month of breastfeeding lowers mother's type 2 diabetes risk

November 1, 2010

Although previous studies have demonstrated health benefits for women who breastfeed for at least 6 months to 1 year, the findings of a recent population-based study show that just 1 month of breastfeeding can reduce a woman's risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life, independent of physical activity and body mass index.

Although previous studies have demonstrated health benefits for women who breastfeed for at least 6 months to 1 year, the findings of a recent population-based study show that just 1 month of breastfeeding can reduce a woman's risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life, independent of physical activity and body mass index.

Researchers studied a population-representative cohort of 2,233 women aged 40 to 78 years who were members of the Kaiser Permanente Health Care Program and enrolled in the Reproductive Risk Factors for Incontinence Study at Kaiser (RRISK) between 2003 and 2008. Of these, 1,828 were mothers, more than half of whom had breastfed an infant for at least 1 month.

They found that the risk for type 2 diabetes among women who consistently breastfed all of their children for at least 1 month was consistent with that of women who had never given birth (odds ratio [OR], 1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56-1.81). In contrast, mothers who had never breastfed an infant were almost twice as likely as nulliparous women to develop type 2 diabetes (OR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.14-3.27).

Schwarz EB, Brown JS, Creasman JM, et al. Lactation and maternal risk of type 2 diabetes: a population-based study. Am J Med. 2010;123(9):863.e1-e6.