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Breakfast Friday, 7 June, 2002, 08:08 GMT 09:08 UK
Breast feeding is best:

Babies who are breast-fed are significantly less likely to be obese than those given formula milk, according to new research.

A study of 32,000 children in Scotland found that breast-fed babies were 30 per cent less likely to be overweight by the time they were three years old.

The BBC's Jane Bennett Powell reported:

The study documented in this week's medical journal, the Lancet, monitored thirty-two thousand babies in Scotland, and when they were three and a half years old, their body fat was measured by research teams from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Twenty-five percent of them had been fed only on breast milk in infancy, sixty-eight percent had been given only formula milk and seven percent, a mixture of the two.

The researchers found that, even after making adjustments for the babies' weight at birth, their socio-economic status and their sex, the risk of obesity in childhood was reduced by thirty percent among those fed on breast milk.

One of the report's authors said it suggested a modest reduction in the risk of obesity, and the findings would be useful in strategies to promote health in the population as a whole in later life.

The research on breast feeding has extra resonance alongside figures from the World Heart Federation, whose medical specialists said a billion people around the world are overweight or obese, and this contributes to seventeen million deaths a year from heart disease.


See also:

20 May 98 | UK
06 May 99 | Science/Nature
18 May 99 | Health
03 Jun 99 | Medical notes
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