Breastfeeding is linked to less lung impairment after air pollution exposure

  • Zhang C & al.
  • JAMA Netw Open
  • 3 May 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • School-aged children who were breastfed experienced less air pollution-related decline in lung function than their peers who were not breastfed, according to findings from a Chinese study.
  • The effect was especially pronounced in younger children.

Why this matters

  • Few data have explored this link using direct measurement of lung function.

Study design

  • Cross-sectional study, previously breastfed and nonbreastfed children ages 7-14 years in 7 cities (n=6740).
  • Using geocoding, air monitoring, authors estimated exposure to air pollutants, including particulate matter of ≤1, ≤2.5, ≤10 μm (PM1, PM2.5, PM10).
  • Outcome: lung impairment.
  • Funding: Chinese national, provincial funds.

Key results

  • 70.5% (4751) breastfed.
  • For each elevated pollutant, risk for reduced FVC, with breastfeeding vs without, aORs (95% CIs):
    • PM1: 2.71 (2.02-3.63) vs 1.20 (0.97-1.48). 
    • PM2.5: 2.27 (1.79-2.88) vs 1.26 (1.04-1.51). 
    • PM10: 1.93 (1.58-2.37) vs 1.46 (1.23-1.73). 
  • Among subset of younger children, risk for reduced FVC, with breastfeeding vs without (aORs):
    • PM1: 6.43 (3.97-10.44) vs 1.89 (1.28-2.80).
    • PM2.5: 3.83 (2.63-5.58) vs 1.50 (1.12-2.01). 
    • PM10: 2.61 (1.90-3.57) vs 1.52 (1.19-1.95).

Limitations

  • Information on indoor air pollution not captured. 
  • Biological mechanisms not elucidated.