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17 Jan 2018

Breastfeeding For Over Six Months May Reduce Diabetes Risk - New Study Reveals

A new study has sown how breastfeeding for over
six months can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes in women.

A 30-year U.S. study has revealed
that Breastfeeding for six months or longer appears to significantly cut the risk of a woman developing
type II diabete.

According a NAN report, the Kaiser Permanente research, published in the U.S. journal JAMA
Internal Medicine, analysed data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a national, multi-centre investigation that
originally enrolled about 5,000 adults aged 18 to
30 in 1985 to 1986.

This study included 1,238 black and white women who did not have diabetes when they enrolled in
CARDIA, or prior to their subsequent pregnancies.

Over the next 30 years, each woman had at least one live birth and was routinely screened for
diabetes under the CARDIA protocol.

Participants also reported lifestyle behaviors such as diet and physical activity and the total amount
of time they breastfed their children.

It showed that women who breastfed for six months or more across all births had a 47 per cent
reduction in their risk of developing type II
diabetes compared to those who did not breastfeed at all.

Women who breastfed for six months or less had a 25 per cent reduction in diabetes risk.

“We found a very strong association between breastfeeding duration and lower risk of developing diabetes, even after accounting for all possible
confounding risk factors,” said lead author Erica Gunderson, senior research scientist with the Kaiser
Permanente Division of Research.

The new findings added to a growing body of evidence that breastfeeding has protective effects
for both mothers and their offspring, including
lowering a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Previous research identifying an association between breastfeeding and protection against later
diabetes was conducted in older women using
self-reported diabetes.

Several plausible biological mechanisms are possible for the protective effects of breastfeeding,
including the influence of lactation-associated
hormones on the pancreatic cells that control blood insulin levels and thereby impact blood sugar.

Tracy Flanagan, director of women’s health for Kaiser Permanente Northern California said: “we
have known for a long time that breastfeeding has
many benefits both for mothers and babies.

“However, previous evidence showed only weak
effects on chronic disease in women.

“Now we see much stronger protection from this new study showing that mothers who breastfeed for
months after their delivery, may be reducing their
risk of developing type II diabetes by up to one half as they get older.
“This is yet another reason that doctors, nurses, and hospitals as well as policymakers should
support women and their families to breastfeed as long as possible.”

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