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Thursday, March 09, 2006Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about a new study that claimed extended breastfeeding led to reduced rates of obesity in teens and adults. This week, a contradictory study has been released that claims breastfeeding and obesity have no ties.
From the BBC:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study contradicts previous research which suggested breastfeeding could protect against later obesity.
It measured the body fatness of 313 American children aged five and found no difference between those who were breastfed and those who were not.
Lead researcher Dr Hillary Burdette at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said there was much interest in whether breastfeeding or the delayed introduction of complementary foods or both can reduce the risk of obesity later.
But she said many studies had conflicting results, so the team tried to devise a new technique to measure their subjects' body fatness, or adiposity, using a specially created X-ray machine.
Earlier studies had used a body mass index, which divides a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres.
The key difference in this study is the way that fat was measured...as the article points out, older studies have used BMI (body mass index) while the new study proports to more accurately measure obesity. The people that conducted the new study claim that BMI isn't an accurate measure of true body fat levels, but also made note that the study was in no way intended to minimize the other beneficial qualities of breast milk.
Critics note that the study followed children only from the age of 3-5, which doesn't really provide a long-term assessment of the impact of breastfeeding. I'd tend to agree with this camp as obesity, or weight issues, tend to show up after kids hit puberty, thus I would THINK that results would be more accurate if you were making these measurements at a later point in time.
Either way, I'll be curious to see how this plays in the news.
Labels: Stats and Studies