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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

CUNY Faculty Investigates the Association of Breastfeeding with Insulin Resistance at Age 17 Years

Dr. Mary Schooling, professor at CUNY School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the relationship between breastfeeding with insulin resistance at age 17 years among children of 1997 birth cohort from Hong Kong. The findings were published in the journal Maternal and Child Nutrition.


[Photo: Dr. Mary Schooling]

Breastfeeding has many benefits for mother and infant. This study was conducted to clarify the role of breastfeeding in type 2 diabetes. The research team assessed the association of breastfeeding with insulin resistance in late adolescence in a birth cohort from a non-Western setting where breastfeeding was not associated with higher socioeconomic position. This study was conducted with a random sample of the original Hong Kong Chinese birth cohort “Children of 1997.”

Information on infant feeding was collected using standardized questionnaires administered shortly after birth and at three, nine, and 18 months. At recruitment and follow-up visits, the respondents, mainly the mothers, were asked: “How is the infant currently fed?” specified as “exclusively breastfed,” “partially breastfed,” and “only formula fed.”

The team used multivariable linear regression, with multiple imputation and inverse probability weighting, to examine the adjusted associations of contemporaneously reported feeding in the first three months of life with fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance at 17 years.

The research team found a graded association of breastfeeding exclusivity in the first three months of life with lower fasting insulin and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, but not fasting glucose, at 17 years. The adolescents who had been exclusively breastfed had nonsignificantly lowest fasting insulin and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, adjusted for sex, birth weight, parity, length of gestation, pregnancy characteristics, parents’ education, and mother’s place of birth.

The authors concluded that exclusively breastfeeding for three months may be causally associated with lower insulin resistance in late adolescence.

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