In developed nations,
weight usually increases with childbirth. Now, scientists have observed that breast feeding for 6 months can reduce body
mass index by almost 1 percent.
Body mass index (BMI)
or 'Quatelet Index'
was first devised by Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet
between 1830 and 1850. It is calculated 'as the individual's body weight in
kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters.' In simple words, BMI
tells you whether your body height and weight are proportionate to your age or not
and whether you have the right body size for your age.
scientists, repeated child births and breast feeding can affect a woman's body
Bobrow and colleagues
conducted a cross-sectional, population-based study to assess the relationship
between parity and body mass index and their long-term aftermaths. The study
was published in International Journal of
Around 740 628
postmenopausal females participated in The Million Women Study in Scotland and
England during 1996-2001. Their weight, height, reproductive histories, etc
The females were aged
between 50 to 64 years and their mean BMI was 26.2 kg m−2
. Around 88 percent of
women were parous with two children. A rise in BMI was observed with repeated
childbirths. The BMI increased from 25.6 kg m−2
to 27.2 kg m−2
Around 70% parous
women included in the study had ever breastfed and their average total duration
of breastfeeding was 7.7 months
parity, the mean BMI remarkably dropped in breast-feeding women as compared to
those who did not breastfed. For every six months of breast-feeding, the BMI
fell by 0.22 kg m−2
On an average, a fall
of 1 percent was noted in BMI for every six months of breast-feeding. The
experts said that the results were not affected by socioeconomic status,
physical activity, region or smoking.
The final conclusion
drawn was that obesity and childbirths are interlinked. The scientists observed that the decrease in BMI caused by six months
of continuous breast-feeding among UK women could also lower their
vulnerability to obesity-associated ailments.
Persistent effects of women's parity and
breastfeeding patterns on their body mass index: results from the Million Women
Study; Bobrow et al; International Journal of Obesity 2013.