Babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop heart
disease and stroke as adults, a study has revealed.
Researchers found that babies who grow quickly are at greater
risk of heart disease and stroke in later life. Babies who are
breastfed grow more slowly than those who are given formula
Scientists from the Medical Research Council compared the health
of adolescents who were fed breast milk as babies, with those given
formulas. The results showed that regardless of the baby’s
weight at birth, the faster the growth the greater the risk of
heart disease and stroke in adult life.
Babies who grew quickly as a result of nutrient enriched diets
were more prone to certain health conditions such as obesity, high
blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Professor Alan Lucas, director of the MRC’s Childhood
Nutrition Research Centre said that the evidence gave out a clear
“Slower growth as a baby reduces the risk of heart disease and
stroke in adult life, and the best way to achieve this is to
breastfeed,” he said.
Meanwhile, serious misunderstandings may be stopping young women
from breastfeeding, according to the Department of Health. A survey
of more than 1,000 women for National Breastfeeding Awareness Week
found mistaken beliefs to be widespread, especially among the
young. More than one in three women believe that infant formula is
very similar to breast milk, although in fact it lacks many of the
valuable ingredients of breast milk including the antibodies.
The UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe; 29
per cent of mothers never try it, compared with 2 per cent in
Sweden. Among mothers under 25, more than 40 per cent never try