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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 101, Issue 1, pp 36–39 | Cite as

Can Exclusive Breastfeeding Reduce the Likelihood of Childhood Obesity in Some Regions of Canada?

  • Laurie TwellsEmail author
  • Leigh Anne Newhook
Quantitative Research
  • 2 Downloads

Abstract

Objectives

The prevalence of childhood obesity in Canada is a major concern. Studies report a small but significant inverse relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and childhood obesity. The study objectives were to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity in a preschool population living in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) and to examine the relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and preschool obesity.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional analysis of 1,026 children born in 2001 who participated in the Pre Kindergarten Health Fairs in 2005. Heights and weights were collected and body mass index (BMI) calculated. The BMI-for-age references used by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States were used to classify the weight status of children. Infant feeding information was collected through a survey. The relationship between breastfeeding and childhood obesity was examined using logistic regression models controlling for child’s age and gender, mother’s education and smoking status, and whether the baby was preterm or full term.

Results

In 2005, 65%, 19% and 16% of preschool children were normal, overweight and obese, respectively. 74% of women initiated breastfeeding and 43% exclusively breastfed to 3 months. Exclusive breastfeeding to 3 months was protective of preschool obesity (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.65, 95% CI 0.45-0.96).

Conclusion

Obesity is prevalent in preschool children in NL. Exclusive breastfeeding appeared to be a protective factor for obesity in preschoolers. Given the known benefits of breastfeeding and the adverse health consequences of obesity, efforts should be made to increase exclusive breastfeeding which may help to prevent the development of obesity in young children.

Keywords

Child obesity body mass index child health breastfeeding 

Résumé

Objectifs

La prévalence de l’obésité de l’enfance au Canada préoccupe beaucoup. Les études font état d’une relation inverse, ténue mais significative, entre l’allaitement exclusivement au sein et l’obésité de l’enfance. Nous avons cherché à déterminer la prévalence du surpoids et de l’obésité dans une population préscolaire vivant à Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador (T.-N.-L.) et à examiner la relation entre l’allaitement exclusivement au sein et l’obésité préscolaire.

Méthode

Nous avons mené une analyse transversale de 1 026 enfants nés en 2001 ayant participé aux « foires sur la santé en prématernelle » en 2005. Nous avons mesuré leur taille et leur poids et calculé leur indice de masse corporelle (IMC). Les tables d’IMC selon l’âge utilisées par les Centers for Disease Control (CDC) aux États-Unis nous ont servi à classifier le statut pondéral des enfants. Les données sur l’alimentation des nourrissons ont été obtenues au moyen d’un questionnaire. La relation entre l’allaitement et l’obésité de l’enfance a été analysée selon des modèles de régression logistique après avoir apporté des ajustements pour tenir compte des effets de l’âge et du sexe de l’enfant, du niveau de scolarité et du tabagisme de la mère et de la naissance à terme ou avant terme du bébé.

Résultats

En 2005, 65 % des enfants d’âge préscolaire étaient de poids normal, 19 % faisaient de l’embonpoint et 16 % étaient obèses; 74 % des femmes avaient commencé l’allaitement et 43 % avaient exclusivement allaité leur enfant au sein jusqu’à l’âge de 3 mois. L’allaitement exclusivement au sein jusqu’à 3 mois était un facteur de protection contre l’obésité préscolaire (rapport de cotes ajusté [RCa] 0,65, IC 95% 0,45-0,96).

Conclusion

L’obésité est courante chez les enfants d’âge préscolaire à T.-N.-L., mais l’allaitement exclusivement au sein semble être un facteur de protection. Étant donné les avantages connus de l’allaitement et les conséquences négatives de l’obésité pour la santé, il faudrait agir pour augmenter l’allaitement exclusivement au sein, car il pourrait contribuer à prévenir l’obésité chez les jeunes enfants.

Motsclés

enfant obésité indice de masse corporelle santé de l’enfant allaitement au sein 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineMemorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada

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