- Infants who are breastfed exclusively have increased odds of a healthy lipid profile in late adolescence, an effect that is independent of adiposity measures.
Why this matters
- A skeptical accompanying editorial says the improvement with breastfeeding “may be clinically insignificant” and better evidence supports other benefits of breastfeeding, such as reduced obesity risk.
- Compared with total formula feeding, exclusive breastfeeding at age 0-3 months was associated in late adolescence (~17.5 years) with:
- Lower total cholesterol: P for trend=.02.
- Lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: P for trend=.05.
- Infants with mixed feeding did not differ from those who were formula-fed.
- BMI, body fat percentage did not vary with type of infant feeding.
- No sex-based associations seen.
- 3261 infants born in 1997, Hong Kong Chinese birth cohort.
- Data adjusted for socioeconomic status, sex, birth weight, gestational weeks, parity, pregnancy factors, parental education, maternal birthplace, age at follow-up.
- Lipids measured from fasting blood samples.
- Funding: Health and Health Services Research Fund; government, university, foundation funding.
- Some baseline differences between those included and excluded.
- Limited information on diet after the early infant period, e.g., timing of solid food introduction.