The beneficial effects of breastfeeding on microvascular function in 11-to 14-year-old children

Faisel Khan, Fiona C. Green, J. Stewart Forsyth, Stephen A. Greene, David J. Newton, Jill J. F. Belch

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    Abstract

    Infant feeding practices have an impact on health in later life, although the evidence for its effects on cardiovascular health is not so clear. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between breastfeeding in infancy and vascular function in later childhood. Infant feeding data, together with demographic and clinical information, were obtained prospectively from a cohort of children from birth until 2 years of age. Vascular function was assessed in 159 children, now aged 11-14 years, by measuring their skin microvascular responses to iontophoretic administration of the endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine. Endothelial function was significantly better in children who had been breastfed than in those who had received infant milk formula (p = 0.001), after adjustment for potential confounding factors. Linear regression showed that acetylcholine responses were significantly related to the duration of breastfeeding (r = 0.30, p = 0.006). The risk of later cardiovascular disease may be reduced by exclusively breastfeeding during infancy. These findings have potential public health implications, and support policies aimed at promoting breastfeeding.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-142
    Number of pages6
    JournalVascular Medicine
    Volume14
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2009

    Keywords

    • breastfeeding
    • cardiovascular disease
    • children
    • endothelium
    • infancy
    • nutrition
    • public health
    • FATTY-ACID SUPPLEMENTATION
    • ADOLESCENTS BORN PRETERM
    • BLOOD-PRESSURE
    • ENDOTHELIAL FUNCTION
    • FOLLOW-UP
    • INSULIN-RESISTANCE
    • HEART-DISEASE
    • BIRTH-WEIGHT
    • EARLY GROWTH
    • CHILDHOOD

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