Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.
Thursday, April 26, 2007I think some of my regular readers are wondering why I'm so up in arms about the new obesity study. I'd imagine that they are thinking something along the lines of"
"Jennifer usually thinks these things through pretty carefully and tends to not get upset by the minor things. This is just another stupid study, who cares what it says?"
You guys are right...to a degree. But I've had enough comments come in that I figured I needed to address the issue.
A single study that says that breastfeeding does not prevent or help prevent obesity does nothing to lessen the benefits of breastfeeding. It shouldn't keep people from breastfeeding. It certainly doesn't say that breastfeeding causes or contributes to obesity, so normally, I'd pretty much disregard it and say "whatever folks, there are bigger battles to be fought."
But this time...this study...it goes deeper.
So, let's take a look at a screen shot of Google News from this morning...read through those headlines and get the general idea of what your average, not super informed person is going to take away from it...
Take-away point: Breastfeeding does not prevent (or even help prevent) obesity
Now, let's take a look at another screen shot of Google News this morning to see some other news that has been talked about in the last week.
Take-away point: A new formula is being created that WILL help prevent obesity
Is my point of view on the study making a little more sense yet?
Now you guys know that I'm pretty rational. I'm not a conspiracy theory type, I don't tell you to boycott Nestle (that's your own choice) and I pretty much NEVER rant against formula because I believe that breastfeeding stands up on its own merits and no mother that ends up needing to use formula for any reason should be made to feel bad about her choice.
HOWEVER, I do not think that it can be written off as "it doesn't matter" when a study this flawed comes out and gets THAT MUCH news coverage right at the same time that other news is breaking about a new component that will be added to formula to "help prevent obesity."
The reason that I addressed this study and worked so hard to help you understand what I feel the flaws are and why I don't think it should be taken as truth is because legions of moms around the globe are going to be seeing, hearing and reading about how breastfeeding does not help protect against obesity at any stage of life. (Which again, runs contrary to many peer-reviewed studies.) At the same time, they are going to be hearing about a new type of formula that claims it WILL help protect against obesity.
I want to make sure that as you go out into the world and as you run into people that comment about these two news stories that you are informed enough to explain why these two studies do not negate the benefits of breastfeeding. So that you are armed with the information that allows you to say "Well actually, that study really didn't do much of anything except show that white nurses suffer from obesity at the same rate whether breastfed or formula fed."
So take it for what you will, but based on those two Google images above, I think this topic was worth getting a little up in arms about.