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School of Medicine




Introduction The immediate benefits of breastfeeding are well-established but the long-term health benefits are less wellknown. West Virginia (WV) has a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and lower breastfeeding rates compared to national averages. There is a paucity of research examining the relationship between breastfeeding and subsequent childhood CVD risk factors, an issue of particular relevance in WV. Methods This study used longitudinally linked data from three cross-sectional datasets in WV (N=11,980). The information on breastfeeding was obtained retrospectively via parental recall when the child was in the fifth grade. The outcome variables included blood pressure measures [systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP)] and lipid profile [total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), non-HDL, and triglycerides (TG)]. Multiple regression analyses were performed, adjusting for childhood body mass index (BMI) and additional covariates. Results Only 43% of mothers selfreported ever breastfeeding. The unadjusted analysis showed that children who were ever vs. never breastfed had significantly lower SBP (b = −1.39 mmHg; 95% CI −1.97, −0.81), DBP (b = −0.79 mmHg; 95% CI −1.26, −0.33), log-TG (b = −0.08; 95% CI −0.1, −0.05), and higher HDL (b=0.95 mg/dL; 95% CI 0.33, 1.56). After adjustment for the child’s BMI, socio-demographic and lifestyle factors, log-TG remained significantly associated with breastfeeding (b = −0.04; 95% CI −0.06, −0.01; p=0.01). Conclusion The observed protective effect of any breastfeeding on childhood TG level was small but significant. This finding provides some support for a protective effect of breastfeeding on later CVD risk.

Source Citation

Umer A, Hamilton C, Edwards RA, et al. Association Between Breastfeeding and Childhood Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2018;23(2):228-239. doi:10.1007/s10995-018-2641-8