Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breastfeeding and a child's cardiac health, weight

Breastfeeding is suggested to have beneficial effects on children's health and future health status. The aim of the this American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study was to determine the cardiovascular effects of exclusive breastfeeding in early childhood. At five years of age, children who had been exclusively breastfed in infancy for 3 to 6 months had a Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Ultrasound Test (CIMT) that was 21.1 times greater than that of exclusively formula-fed children. CIMT was not significantly different between children exclusively breastfed for either less than three or more than six months and formula-fed children. In addition, no significant differences in carotid stiffness were observed between groups. The choice of infant feeding appears to have an effect on the vascular system already in early childhood.

In another AJCN study that addresses young children, exposure to polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in early life may influence adiposity development. Researchers examined the extent to which prenatal n–3 (omega-3) and n–6 (omega-6) PUFA concentrations were associated with childhood adiposity. They found that an enhanced maternal-fetal n–3 PUFA status was associated with lower childhood adiposity. Once again, the data shows that optimizing your omega-6:3 ratio is paramount.

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