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Contact: Julia Chapman, 914-740-2100,
Breastfeeding Protects Against Childhood Obesity

 Childhood Obesity

New Rochelle, NY, October 18, 2010—Breastfeeding and moderate maternal weight gain during pregnancy can both play an important role in preventing childhood obesity, according to a review of the medical literature highlighted in the current issue of the new bimonthly, print and online journal Childhood Obesity, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The inaugural issue is available free online.

About 1 in 3 children in the United States older than two years of age is overweight or obese. Clinical researchers are taking a close look at maternal and nutritional factors during pregnancy and infancy that could contribute to an increased risk of obesity during childhood.

Ruth Lawrence, MD, DD (Hon), Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Gynecology at the University of Rochester (NY), describes the “strong” and “consistent” evidence that maternal weight gain of 40 pounds or more during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity. She also reviews studies that demonstrate a link between breastfeeding and a reduced risk of obesity compared to infant formula. Dr. Lawrence explores the possible mechanisms that could explain this protective effect of breastfeeding in the paper entitled, “Does Breastfeeding Protect Against Overweight and Obesity in Children?” These include differences in feeding patterns and the act of suckling, milk volume consumed and satiety cues, and the nutritional and hormonal contents of breast milk compared to formula and how they regulate metabolism and energy balance.