Breastfeeding May Help Prevent Diabetes

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 30 (UPI) — A U.S. researcher says mothers who don’t breastfeed their children may be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, than mothers who do breastfeed.

Study co-author Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz at the University of Pittsburgh says diet and exercise are widely known to affect the risk of type 2 diabetes but few people realize breastfeeding also reduces mothers’ risk of developing the disease later in life by decreasing maternal belly fat.

The study, scheduled to be published in the September of the American Journal of Medicine, finds mothers who did not breastfeed were almost twice as likely to develop the type 2 diabetes as women who had breastfed or never given birth. In contrast, mothers who breastfed all of their children were no more likely to develop diabetes than women who had never given birth.

“Our study provides another good reason to encourage women to breastfeed their infants, at least for the infant’s first month of life,” Schwarz says in a statement.

Schwarz and colleagues factored for physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, family history of diabetes and body mass index while examining the impact of duration, exclusivity and consistency of breastfeeding and the risk of having developed type 2 diabetes in 2,233 women — 1,828 of whom were mothers.

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