- Overeating during breastfeeding may affect the health of the offspring.
- The children are at a high risk of developing diabetes and reproductive problems during adulthood.
- Breastfeeding significantly influences the time of puberty
Overeating during breastfeeding may affect the health of the offspring; they are at a high risk of becoming obese and attaining early puberty, finds a study. The findings of the study were presented on March 18 at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society's 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill. Early puberty may be associated with reproductive problems and diabetes during adulthood.
"Formula feeding is well known to increase the risk of obesity in children. Our findings suggest, however, that when breastfeeding mothers do not eat a moderate and healthy diet, there can also be increased risks of various health problems in the offspring, including obesity, diabetes, advanced puberty and reduced fertility," said lead researcher Mengjie Wang, M.D., M.S., a graduate research assistant at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences in Toledo, Ohio.
‘Overeating during breastfeeding may cause health problems in infants’
According to Wang, childhood obesity is one of the main causes for early puberty. Previous studies on animals have shown that overeating during breastfeeding advances the timing of puberty but its effect on metabolism and reproduction is not known.
Researchers wanted to determine how obesity altered the timing of puberty. They gave a high-fat-diet to a group of mice from the date they gave birth and started breastfeeding until they weaned their pups. Another group of mice were on regular diet for the same amount of time.
The findings showed that the puppies of overfed mothers were obese and attained early puberty. Hence, the results indicate that breast-feeding phase significantly influences the time of puberty.
Fertility tests of mice in adulthood revealed that those whose mothers were fed with high-fat diet during breastfeeding had decreased litter size, longer duration from mating to date of birth and impaired pregnancy rate .The scientists also found that these mice suffered from insulin insensitivity and glucose intolerance. These were the signs of developing diabetes during adulthood.
"Our results reinforce the findings of previous studies that childhood obesity causes advanced puberty and metabolic disorders in adulthood," Wang said. "Correct treatment and follow-up are both important for patients with early puberty. Patients with early puberty should be aware that other health problems may arise after they become adults."
Breastfeeding is the natural way of feeding the baby. It provides all the nutrition the baby needs during its first 6 months of its life. Breast milk has all the nutrients needed for the development of brain, eyes and other body systems of the baby and also develops its immune system. It reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer in mothers.