Monday, March 23, 2015
Several studies have established benefits of breastfeeding; however American researchers have found that its benefits may extend into adulthood. Their long-running study found that adults who were breast-fed for 12 months or more as infants had higher I.Q. scores, more years of education, and higher monthly incomes compared to those who were breastfed for a month or lesser.
This observational study was published in the journal Lancet Global Health. Initiated in 1982, the study covered a wide-ranging socioeconomic spectrum of breastfeeding women, and enrolled 5,914 newborns. The duration of breast-feeding and the age when the babies began eating solid foods was recorded. The researchers followed the subjects after 30 years and were able to test 3,493 of the original group.
The researchers arrived at the results after controlling confounding factors such as maternal education, smoking, family income, birth weight and other factors. However, recognising the observational nature of the study, the researchers emphasised the need for further large-scale studies to validate their findings
The lead author, Bernardo Lessa Horta, an associate professor at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil said, “It isn’t only breast-feeding that affects I.Q. and income. But our study does show that breast-feeding is important and should be encouraged.”
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