Breastfeeding and Type 2 Diabetes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Purpose of Review

Breastfeeding has short- and long-term benefits for child health. In this systematic review, we updated a review on the association between breastfeeding and type 2 diabetes.

Recent Findings

A meta-analysis published in 2015 reported that breastfeeding protects against type 2 diabetes (pooled odds ratio, 0.65 (95% confidence interval, 0.48; 0.86)). In the present update, we identified three recently published studies. An internet-based study reported that at a mean age of 25.6 years, exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months protected against type 2 diabetes (odds ratio, 0.63 (95% confidence interval, 0.41; 0.95)). In a retrospective cohort, those subjects who had been breastfed before hospital discharge were less likely of presenting diabetes (odds ratio, 0.83 (95% confidence interval, 0.69; 0.99)). In a case-control study, the odds of type 2 diabetes in adolescents was lower for those exclusively breastfed at hospital discharge (odds ratio, 0.52 (95% confidence interval, 0.36; 0.74)). In the meta-analysis, the pooled odds ratio was 0.67 (95% confidence interval, 0.56; 0.80).


The updated systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that breastfeeding protects from type 2 diabetes.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Bernardo Lessa Horta has a Scientific Productivity Scholarship (Level 1A) from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq). This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001.

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Correspondence to Bernardo Lessa Horta.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Pediatric Type 2 and Monogenic Diabetes

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Horta, B.L., de Lima, N.P. Breastfeeding and Type 2 Diabetes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Curr Diab Rep 19, 1 (2019).

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  • Breastfeeding
  • Human milk
  • Glycemia
  • Type 2 diabetes