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Breastfeeding Cuts Children's Obesity Risk

Update Date: Aug 12, 2013 04:00 PM EDT

Breastfeeding can lower the risk of obesity, according to a new Japanese study.

Researchers at Okayama University in Japan found that breastfed school children were significantly less likely to be overweight or obese.

The study involved a total of 43,367 singleton Japanese children born after 37 gestational weeks. The children were part of Japan's Longitudinal Survey of Babies in the 21st Century.

Researchers measured for underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity at 7 and 8 years of age.

After adjusting for children's factors (sex, television viewing time, and computer game playing time) and maternal factors (educational attainment, smoking status, and working status), researchers found that exclusive breastfeeding at six to seven months of age was significantly associated with decreased risk of overweight and obesity compared with formula feeding.

"After adjusting for potential confounders, we demonstrated that breastfeeding is associated with decreased risk of overweight and obesity among school children in Japan, and the protective association is stronger for obesity than overweight," researchers wrote in the study.

The findings are published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics

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