Studies show that mothers who do not breastfeed are more likely to retain the weight gained during pregnancy, and infants who are bottle-fed are more likely to become overweight or obese in later life.
“As we struggle with a world-wide obesity epidemic, we need to protect every woman’s right to breastfeed her child,” said Arthur Eidelman MD, president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. In the U.S. and around the world, a growing number of mothers initiate breastfeeding, but few are able to achieve medical recommendations for six months of exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding through two years and beyond.
For mothers, exclusive breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day—the equivalent of an hour on a treadmill—and thus contributes to postpartum weight loss. Moreover, women who do not breastfeed are more likely to be overweight in later life, and are also more likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
For children, breastmilk contains multiple hormones that regulate appetite, and infants who are breastfed show better appetite regulation in childhood. These differences have consequences for child health: children who are not breastfed are more likely to be overweight or obese, and face a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in later life than children who are breastfed.
“The obstacles that breastfeeding women face worsen the obesity epidemic,” Eidelman said. Poor training for medical providers, disruptive maternity care practices, and aggressive marketing of formula all undermine maternal and infant health.
“The data are clear: Obesity prevention begins with breastfeeding,” Eidelman said. “Policies that enable women to initiate and sustain breastfeeding must be a central part of the global obesity prevention agenda.”
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine,
140 Huguenot St., New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215
(800) 990.4ABM (914) 740.2115 Fax: (914) 740.2101
Contact: Karla Shepard Rubinger, Executive Director, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine,
(800 990-4ABM), firstname.lastname@example.org