Breastfeed Babies Exposed to Diabetes in Utero Protected Against Childhood Obesity
Babies that are breastfeed that were exposed to diabetes either typ1, type 2 or gestational diabetes have an increased chance of being protected from childhood obesity as long as the child’s nutrition and activity levels are normal. According to a study published in the February issue of Diabetes Care and an accompanying editorial, which noted that population-wide detection and treatment of gestational diabetes takes on even greater importance due to these findings.
"Our data suggest that breastfeeding promotion may be an effective strategy for reducing the increased risk of childhood obesity in offspring of mothers with diabetes during pregnancy," said Dr. Dana Dabelea, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, and lead researcher on the study. "Since childhood obesity and in utero exposure to maternal diabetes have both been associated with later development of type 2 diabetes, it follows that breastfeeding these children may also help reduce their future risk for developing type 2. However, further research would be needed to confirm that added protection."
Breastfeeding the infant for a period of six months seems to be the key for protection of childhood obesity. Infants who are breastfeed for less than six months or infants who are bottle feed have the same risk of developing childhood obesity as an infant who was not exposed to diabetes in utero.