Breastfeeding in infancy tied to healthy lipid profile in adolescence

  • Pediatrics

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • 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.

Key results

  • 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.

Study design

  • 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.

Limitations

  • Some baseline differences between those included and excluded.
  • Limited information on diet after the early infant period, e.g., timing of solid food introduction.

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