Mothers who breastfeed their children are at lower risk of developing what is called metabolic syndrome, which is an umbrella term for a myriad of illnesses, including:
- High blood pressure
- Higher insulin levels
- Abnormal cholesterol levels.
When these things all happen together, they can be responsible for causing heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
Study leader Dr Erica Gunderson, from US health care providers Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, said: “The findings indicate that breastfeeding a child may have lasting favorable effects on a woman’s risk factors for later developing diabetes or heart disease.”
Dr Gunderson added: “Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of risk factors related to obesity and metabolism that strongly predicts future diabetes and possibly coronary heart disease during mid-life and early death for women.
“Because metabolic syndrome affects about 18 per cent to 37 per cent of US women between ages 20-59, the childbearing years may be a vulnerable period for its development.
The research was conducted over a 20-year period and followed 704 women from their first pregnancy to two decades thereafter.
Read more about the study at USA Today.
Author: Paulo Brandao