Breast-Feeding Curbs Type 2 Diabetes

Babies who are breast-fed seem to be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes as adolescents, according to University of South Carolina researchers.

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Using a subset of data from a larger study, the researchers analyzed 80 people between the ages of 10 and 21 with type 2 diabetes, who were matched with 167 “controls” who did not have diabetes.

The breastfeeding rate was lower among people with type 2 diabetes, compared with the control group. Specifically:

* Among African Americans, only 20 percent of those with type 2 diabetes had been breastfed, compared to 27 percent in the control group.
*Among Hispanics, 50 percent of the diabetes group was breastfed, compared with 84 percent of the control group.
*Among whites, 39 percent of the diabetes group was breastfed, compared with 78 percent of the control group.

The researchers concluded that breastfeeding in itself had a protective effect against type 2 diabetes. It also helped to stave off the disease because it helped to moderate childhood weights.

Encouraging breastfeeding in groups at high risk of type 2 diabetes may be useful, the researchers said.

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Sources:
Reuters March 13, 2008
Diabetes Care March 2008, 31:470-475

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