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Breastfeeding for at least one semester reduces the risk of diabetes

Breastfeeding for at least one semester reduces the risk of diabetes

Previous research has shown that breastfeeding has other long-term benefits for mothers, including a lower a risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

"We've known for a long time that breastfeeding has major benefits for child health", lead author Erica P. Gunderson told the Times.

Gunderson and her colleagues analyzed data during the 30 years of follow up from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, a national investigation of cardiovascular disease risk factors that originally enrolled about 5,000 adults aged 18 to 30 in 1985 to 1986, including more than 1,000 members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Mothers who breast feed for at least 6 months may cut their risk of developing diabetes by almost half, according to a study.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, found that protection against type 2 diabetes increased the longer the women breastfed.

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Women who had suckled for six months or more (in all their births) had an average of 47% less chance of diabetes than those who had not breastfed in the past.

The researchers say there may be a number of reasons why breastfeeding protects against diabetes.

Researchers suggested that breastfeeding may unleash protective effects via hormones that act in the pancreas, controlling blood insulin levels and blood sugar. The associations held for obese women and for those who had had gestational diabetes, both strong risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. Among the criteria, participants were asked to report on their lifestyle habits, including diet and exercise, as well as their breastfeeding choices. Pediatricians recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed infants until they're at least six months old because it can reduce babies' risk of ear and respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, allergies, obesity and diabetes.

"Although it doesn't tell us if breastfeeding directly causes this reduced risk, all women should be encouraged and supported to breastfeed where possible".


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