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Breast feeding reduces risk of diabetes in later life

30-Jan-2001

Mothers who stop breast feeding their babies too early are increasing the risk that their children will develop heart disease and diabetes later in life, a new study has claimed, the BBC reports.


Professor Jill Belch, Dr Steve Greene and Dr Stewart Forsyth at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee demonstrated that babies who are introduced to solid food too soon show greater signs of heart disease by their teenage years.


The research, backed by the Medical Research Council, compared the diets of 159 children between the ages of 11 and 14 when they were infants. It concluded that babies who were breast-fed for longer showed less signs of heart disease by the time that they were 13. Of the 159 children tested, 20% had above-average levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. The same number also had abnormalities of the blood vessels, a condition which is a major cause of heart attacks. The research linked the abnormalities in blood vessels to the introduction of solid food in the diet before the baby was 15 weeks old.


Official figures estimate that nearly 90% of Scottish mothers give their babies solid foods before they are 15 weeks despite official medical advice not to.


The study also concluded that babies fed on bottled milk were more likely to develop high levels of cholesterol, which can cause heart disease and sugar in the blood, which can lead to diabetes.

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