Breastfeeding and Maternal Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Byron's Comments:

One more important reason for moms to breast feed.

Study Title:

Lactation and Maternal Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-based Study

Study Abstract:

Background
Lactation has been associated with improvements in maternal glucose metabolism.

Methods
We explored the relationships between lactation and risk of type 2 diabetes in a well-characterized, population-representative cohort of women, aged 40-78 years, who were members of a large integrated health care delivery organization in California and enrolled in the Reproductive Risk factors for Incontinence Study at Kaiser (RRISK), between 2003 and 2008. Multivariable logistic regression was used to control for age, parity, race, education, hysterectomy, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, family history of diabetes, and body mass index while examining the impact of duration, exclusivity, and consistency of lactation on risk of having developed type 2 diabetes.

Results
Of 2233 women studied, 1828 were mothers; 56% had breastfed an infant for ≥1 month. In fully adjusted models, the risk of type 2 diabetes among women who consistently breastfed all of their children for ≥1 month remained similar to 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 more likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than nulliparous women (OR 1.92; 95% CI, 1.14-3.27). Mothers who never exclusively breastfed were more likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than mothers who exclusively breastfed for 1-3 months (OR 1.52; 95% CI, 1.11-2.10).

Conclusions
Risk of type 2 diabetes increases when term pregnancy is followed by <1 month of lactation, independent of physical activity and body mass index in later life. Mothers should be encouraged to exclusively breastfeed all of their infants for at least 1 month.

From press release:

Mothers who did not breastfeed their children have significantly higher rates of type 2 diabetes later in life than moms who breastfed, report University of Pittsburgh researchers in a study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
“We have seen dramatic increases in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes over the last century,” said Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. “Diet and exercise are widely known to impact the risk of type 2 diabetes, but few people realize that breastfeeding also reduces mothers’ risk of developing the disease later in life by decreasing maternal belly fat.”

The study included 2,233 women between the ages of 40 and 78. Overall, 56 percent of mothers reported they had breastfed an infant for at least one month. Twenty-seven percent of mothers who did not breastfeed developed type 2 diabetes and were almost twice as likely to develop the disease as women who had breastfed or never given birth. In contrast, mothers who breastfed all of their children were no more likely to develop diabetes than women who never gave birth. These long-term differences were notable even after considering age, race, physical activity and tobacco and alcohol use.

“Our study provides another good reason to encourage women to breastfeed their infants, at least for the infant’s first month of life,” said Dr. Schwarz. “Clinicians need to consider women’s pregnancy and lactation history when advising women about their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.”

Study Information:

Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, Jeanette S. Brown, Jennifer M. Creasman, Alison Stuebe, Candace K. McClure, Stephen K. Van Den Eeden, et al. Lactation and Maternal Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-based Study American Journal of Medicine.  2010 September  Volume 123, Issue 9, Pages 863.e1-863.e6
University of Pittsburgh






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