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Breastfeeding and Obesity: Impact on Women and Their Children

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Maternal Obesity and Pregnancy

Abstract

Rates of prepregnancy obesity are rising in many countries around the globe, and epidemiologic data suggest a direct link between maternal prepregnancy BMI and offspring obesity. Maternal obesity coupled with lack of breastfeeding has been associated with a sixfold increased risk for child obesity. Moreover, population subgroups of women in many countries with the highest burden of obesity also have the lowest rates of initiation and shortest durations of breastfeeding, presenting an alarming possibility of a transgenerational cycle of obesity and associated chronic disease. Evidence is also mounting that lactation may be beneficial to women’s future health including protection against development of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases later in life. The reasons for poor breastfeeding rates among overweight and obese women are likely to be multifactorial including biologic, sociocultural, and behavioral factors. High quality research on the predictors, barriers, and specific effects of breastfeeding on maternal and child health are needed to inform and promote targeted clinical and public health interventions.

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Correspondence to Dana Dabelea M.D., Ph.D. .

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Crume, T., Dabelea, D. (2012). Breastfeeding and Obesity: Impact on Women and Their Children. In: Ovesen, P., Møller Jensen, D. (eds) Maternal Obesity and Pregnancy. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-25023-1_18

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