Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breastfeeding Linked With Lower Childhood Blood Pressure

Date:
March 4, 2004
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Breastfed babies have lower blood pressure as children compared to their bottle-fed counterparts, possibly setting the stage for lower blood pressure in adulthood and a reduced risk of coronary death, researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

DALLAS, March 2 – Breastfed babies have lower blood pressure as children compared to their bottle-fed counterparts, possibly setting the stage for lower blood pressure in adulthood and a reduced risk of coronary death, researchers reported in today’s rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Children who were breastfed as infants had 0.8 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) lower systolic blood pressure at age 7 than did children who were bottle-fed.

The findings are consistent with another study that found that breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of coronary disease death. However, other studies failed to show a consistent link between breastfeeding and specific coronary risk factors, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Lower blood pressure is a potential explanation for the reduced coronary mortality risk, according to the British researchers. However, the long-term implications of the breastfeeding-blood pressure link are still to be determined.

“There is some weak evidence that there is a small lowering of blood pressure in adulthood [among children who were breastfed], but the evidence is inconsistent,” said Richard Martin, MSc, MFPH, senior lecturer in epidemiology and public health at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. “No one has investigated in a prospective study whether the association changes with age.”

Martin and his colleagues compared the effects of breast- and bottle-feeding on blood pressure in 4,763 children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a long-term study of health and development in the United Kingdom. The children averaged 7.5 years old at the time of the study. Researchers obtained infant feeding data from questionnaires completed by mothers when the children were 6 months and 15 months old.

Researchers categorized infant feeding as “exclusive breastfeeding” if the child received no solids, formula, or other drinks (except vitamins, minerals, medicine, or water) before 2 months of age; “partial breastfeeding” if exclusive breastfeeding continued for two months; and “never breastfed.” They also grouped the children according to total duration of breast feeding, ranging from “never” to “more than six months.”

In an overall analysis, children who were breastfed for any length of time had lower blood pressure than did formula-fed children. After adjusting for factors that could potentially influence the results (such as mother’s education, socioeconomic status, birth weight, etc.), the investigators found that blood pressure remained lower in breastfed children, averaging 0.8 mm Hg lower for systolic pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading) and 0.6 mm Hg for lower diastolic pressure (the second number).

“Even this small reduction may have important population-health implications,” he said. “A one-percent reduction in population systolic blood pressure levels is associated with about a 1.5 percent reduction in all-cause mortality, equivalent to a lessening in premature death of about 8,000 to 2,000 deaths per year in the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively.”

The association between breastfeeding and blood pressure was not affected by a child’s gender, body mass, or pulse. Moreover, family social status, income, number of siblings, maternal alcohol consumption, the child’s health, and the child’s ethnicity did not change the association between breastfeeding and blood pressure.

The modest beneficial effect of breastfeeding on blood pressure was similar regardless of whether the child had partial or exclusive breastfeeding up to two months old. However, the blood pressure effect was greatest among children who had been breastfed for at least six months. After adjusting for confounding factors, every three months of breastfeeding was associated with a statistically significant 0.2 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure. Breastfeeding time didn’t significantly affect diastolic blood pressure.

Differences in the nutrient content of breast milk and formula are a potential explanation for the blood pressure-lowering effect of breastfeeding, Martin said. Breastfed children tend to consume less sodium, which is one factor that can influence blood pressure. Breast milk also contains long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), which impact tissue development in the body, including blood vessels. Infant formula supplemented with LCPUFAs also has been associated with lower blood pressure.

Formula feeding is more likely to lead to overfeeding and overweight babies. Excess weight is also associated with higher blood pressure and promotes insulin resistance, which often precedes development of diabetes in adulthood. Breastfeeding may protect against future overweight, Martin said.

The researchers said they plan to conduct similar studies in other large groups of children in an effort to confirm the findings. They also plan to organize studies to evaluate the effects of programs to promote breastfeeding.

Co-authors are Andrew R. Ness, Ph.D.; David Gunnell, Ph.D.; Pauline Emmett, Ph.D; and George Davey Smith, M.D., for the ALSPAC Study Team.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Breastfeeding Linked With Lower Childhood Blood Pressure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040303074857.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2004, March 4). Breastfeeding Linked With Lower Childhood Blood Pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040303074857.htm
American Heart Association. "Breastfeeding Linked With Lower Childhood Blood Pressure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040303074857.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins