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Media Release: Recent Studies Point to Breastfeeding as a Benefit to Future Heart Health

Contact: Mary Lofton, PRManager at llli.org; Ext 271, Mary Hurt, PRAssociate at llli.org
Ext. 286; Katy Lebbing, KLebbing at llli.org, Ext. 245; (847) 519-7730 (After Hours: (630)710-0247)

Recent Studies Point to Breastfeeding as a Benefit to Future Heart Health

Schaumburg, IL (February 2005) February is American Heart Month and recent studies show that human milk may provide a lifelong gift for future heart health. While the immunological benefits of human milk for the infant are well-known, there is also compelling evidence that there are lifelong benefits for the child related to weight control, blood pressure and blood lipids.

An article in Current Paediatrics [1] reviewed data that concluded breastfeeding has beneficial effects later on in life with regard to cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure and plasma lipid profile (cholesterol), and that it reduced the risk of obesity during childhood.

Another study, which appeared in Circulation[2], states that children who had been breastfed as infants had lower blood pressure at age seven than those who had been formula fed. While the benefit resulted from even two months of breastfeeding, the effect was greater for those who had been breastfed for at least six months.

In addition, a study published in the British journal Lancet [3] concluded that preterm infants fed banked human milk had reduced C-reactive protein. The amount of this protein is a measure of the inflammatory process associated with atherosclerosis.

Breastfeeding offers the greatest protection from illness when babies are receiving human milk alone; this protection declines in proportion to the amount of supplements, such as formula, cow’s milk, or solid foods they receive. Babies also receive more benefits the longer they are breastfed. Scientific studies call this effect a “dose response.”

La Leche League International (LLLI), a nonprofit organization founded in 1956, is the world’s largest resource for breastfeeding information. It has a presence in over sixty countries worldwide. For information on the short and long-term benefits of human milk, for breastfeeding help, or to find a group in your area, visit the LLLI Web site at www.lalecheleague.org or call (847) 519-7730.

[1] Current Paediatrics 04;14;97-103

[2] Circulation 04; 109 (10):1259-66

[3] Lancet 04-5-15:363 (9421):1571-78

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