Breast feeding is associated with reduced risk of heart disease

breastfeeding reduces heart disease

Longer duration of lactation was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease in women. The conclusion was arrived from a large prospective study involving around ninety thousand women. Researchers found that women who had breastfed for a lifetime total of 2 years or longer had a 23% lower risk of coronary heart disease than women who had never breastfed. This finding is independent of other known risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, family history of heart disease, diet, alcohol consumption, hormone use and menopausal status.

This is one of the first studies to compare the duration of breast feeding with the incidence of myocardial infarction (heart attack). Previous studies have shown that breast feeding was associated with lower blood pressure, reduction in the risk for developing diabetes, higher levels of HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol). Some of these positive effects which happen during the lactational period are found to persist even after weaning. The findings confirm the important role lactation plays in women's cardiometabolic health. The lactating women have better cardiometabolic profile than non-lactating counterparts, which may result is lesser incidence of heart disease and heart attacks in later life.

Stuebe AM, Michels KB, Willett WC, et al. Duration of lactation and incidence of myocardial infarction in middle to late adulthood. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2009;200:138.e1-138.e8.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014
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