Breast feed provides a protective shield in early childhood. But new research show that the effect of this does not carry through to adolescence and adulthood. Child fed on breastfeed can grow to be obese just as a child fed on bottle feed.
The earlier study had pressed the government health official to declare that breast feed was necessary to reduce childhood obesity. Federal chronic-disease prevention also advocates breast feed.
Harvard Medical School associate professor Karin Michels, Ph.D says that there is no link between breast feed and body weight after the age of five. He says "We certainly encourage breastfeeding, which has many positive consequences for both mother and child. But it should not be promoted as a solution for either the childhood or adult obesity epidemic."
This new study involved 14,500 women who were breastfed in childhood and 21,000 who were not. And it was found that many of the breasts fed women were at the risk of being obese just as the bottle-fed women.
Laurence Grummer-Strawn, Ph.D., says that though there is little evidence that the benefits last through adulthood but there is a protective role that breastfeed plays in early childhood. "The best evidence we have indicates that the [protective] effect probably diminishes over time, and that is what this study shows," he tells." It is not very surprising that the evidence would fail to show a benefit for breastfeeding 40 years later."
The babies that are breast fed are less likely to develop ear infection, respiratory illness and diarrhea early in life.