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New study says breastfeeding could reduce risk of obesity

Researchers in Ireland have revealed that babies that are breastfed for longer and also weaned onto solids later are at less risk of suffering from childhood obesity.
The study, based on the “Growing Up in Ireland” government-funded survey, showed that the chances of a nine-year-old being obese were lowered by over 50 per cent if they have been breastfed for six months or more as compared to a baby that had been only fed on formula. In addition, babies that were breastfed for between three and six months were shown to be at a 38 per cent less risk of being chronically overweight by the age of nine.
The study monitored nearly 20,000 children between the ages of nine months and 13 years, and reported that Ireland has the lowest breastfeeding rate across Europen, with 55 per cent of new babies being breastfed to some extent. The researchers also suggested that children who are obese are at a greater risk of becoming obese adults and develop associated conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Richard Layte, from the Economic and Social Research Institute in Ireland, said “Obesity is a serious problem in Ireland. We have some of the highest rates of child and adult obesity in Europe and we need to understand the causes better.”
He added “Our study suggests that early life nutrition may be a key issue for improving health and reducing obesity.”

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