Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breastfeeding boosts ability to climb social ladder

Date:
June 25, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Breastfeeding not only boosts children's chances of climbing the social ladder, but it also reduces the chances of downwards mobility, suggests a large study.

Breastfeeding not only boosts children's chances of climbing the social ladder, but it also reduces the chances of downwards mobility, suggests a large study.
Credit: oksun70 / Fotolia

Breastfeeding not only boosts children's chances of climbing the social ladder, but it also reduces the chances of downwards mobility, suggests a large study published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

The findings are based on changes in the social class of two groups of individuals born in 1958 (17,419 people) and in 1970 (16,771 people).

The researchers asked each of the children's mums, when their child was five or seven years old, whether they had breastfed him/her.

They then compared people's social class as children -- based on the social class of their father when they were 10 or 11 -- with their social class as adults, measured when they were 33 or 34.

Social class was categorised on a four-point scale ranging from unskilled/semi-skilled manual to professional/managerial.

The research also took account of a wide range of other potentially influential factors, derived from regular follow-ups every few years. These included children's brain (cognitive) development and stress scores, which were assessed using validated tests at the ages of 10-11.

Significantly fewer children were breastfed in 1970 than in 1958. More than two-thirds (68%) of mothers breastfed their children in 1958, compared with just over one in three (36%) in 1970.

Social mobility also changed over time, with those born in 1970 more likely to be upwardly mobile, and less likely to be downwardly mobile, than those born in 1958.

None the less, when background factors were accounted for, children who had been breastfed were consistently more likely to have climbed the social ladder than those who had not been breastfed. This was true of those born in both 1958 and 1970.

What's more, the size of the "breastfeeding effect" was the same in both time periods. Breastfeeding increased the odds of upwards mobility by 24% and reduced the odds of downward mobility by around 20% for both groups.

Intellect and stress accounted for around a third (36%) of the total impact of breastfeeding: breastfeeding enhances brain development, which boosts intellect, which in turn increases upwards social mobility. Breastfed children also showed fewer signs of stress.

The evidence suggests that breastfeeding confers a range of long-term health, developmental, and behavioural advantages to children, which persist into adulthood, say the authors.

They note that it is difficult to pinpoint which affords the greatest benefit to the child -- the nutrients found in breast milk or the skin to skin contact and associated bonding during breastfeeding.

"Perhaps the combination of physical contact and the most appropriate nutrients required for growth and brain development is implicated in the better neurocognitive and adult outcomes of breastfed infants," they suggest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Sacker, Y. Kelly, M. Iacovou, N. Cable, M. Bartley. Breast feeding and intergenerational social mobility: what are the mechanisms? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2013; DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2012-303199

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Breastfeeding boosts ability to climb social ladder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625074203.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, June 25). Breastfeeding boosts ability to climb social ladder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625074203.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Breastfeeding boosts ability to climb social ladder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130625074203.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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