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Breastfed Babies are less likely to become Obese in later life

Most of us aware of the myriad benefits of breastfeeding both baby and mum, and now new research has been brought to light by Australia’s own Dr Donna Geddes of University of Western Australia, which explains the role breast milk plays in preventing childhood obesity.

According to the new research, breastfed babies are less likely to become obese in later life, including both childhood and as adults. 

The new findings unveiled by Medela at the 14th International Breastfeeding and Lactation Symposium in London, give clues as to why this is the case. 

In Australia, obesity has become an increasingly significant public health issue, and is linked to numerous chronic diseases. 

In fact, 1 in 4 Australian children between 2 and 17 are overweight.

For years, researchers have believed that rapid infant growth is detrimental in later life, and that it was volume of milk that contributed to that growth. In other words, more volume, more growth. 

While previous research measured obesity in breastfed babies focusing exclusively on the growth rate of the baby, this new research disproves breastmilk myths regarding infant body composition and appetite regulation. 

That’s because previous studies of obesity and body composition were carried out on babies who drink formula, which lacks many of the components that are in breast milk.

The results are in! 

Research shows that the combination of the components found in breast milk ensures that baby develops the right amount of fat and muscle for each baby.

Put simply, it’s not size per se, or weight, that really affects an infant’s body composition.

That’s because of the appetite controlling hormones- leptin and adiponectin- which, while present in some infant formulas are much lower doses, so can’t adapt to the individual infant’s diet or stage of development.

This means that the unique programming qualities found in breast milk operate differently,  tailoring each feed to the infant’s needs and providing the right amount of hormones. 

The end result? Babies who receive breastmilk in their diet have a reduced chance of developing childhood obesity. 

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