If a new research is to be believed, a rise in chronic disease in Australia may be attributed to the modern negative attitudes to breastfeeding.
Dr Julia Smith, from the Australian National University (ANU), and colleagues set out to assess the public health significance of premature weaning of infants from breast milk on the risk of chronic illness later in life.
The study mapped the public health impact of premature weaning over the past five decades in Australia.
The researchers found that even now, very few Australian babies are breastfed to six months.
"Depending on how we measure exposures for different types of chronic disease, more than one in ten Australians will face heightened risk in later life because they were not breastfed, many from disadvantaged families," the Age quoted Dr Smith as saying in a statement.
Research has shown breastfeeding can reduce the long-term risk of chronic disease.
"From what we know about the effects of premature weaning on chronic disease risk, a significant proportion of the current burden of chronic disease might have been avoided," said Smith said, who carried out the research with Dr Peta Harvey from ANU's Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health.
The research was published earlier this month in the international journal Public Health Nutrition.