Breastfeeding--strategy for reducing childhood obesity.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Obesity in children (Prevention)
Breast feeding (Health aspects)
Breast feeding (Research)
Chronic diseases (Prevention)
Pub Date: 07/01/2008
Publication: Name: West Virginia Medical Journal Publisher: West Virginia State Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 West Virginia State Medical Association ISSN: 0043-3284
Issue: Date: July-August, 2008 Source Volume: 104 Source Issue: 4
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Accession Number: 201087016
Full Text: Breastfeeding has numerous benefits for mothers and children, such as reducing childhood obesity and chronic disease. Studies provide evidence that breastfeeding, especially breastfeeding for longer durations, protects against obesity in childhood, although the mechanism of the protection is not clearly understood.

Studies have also shown that the prevalence of being overweight in childhood is lower among young children (three to six years of age) as well as older children who were breastfed, compared to children who were never breastfed. Many studies conclude that promoting breastfeeding would be a logical strategy for reducing childhood obesity.

With an increasing number of children in West Virginia becoming overweight at such an early age, it should be a priority to help families understand that breastfeeding helps decrease the chance of their child becoming overweight. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has staff who educate women and their families about the benefits of breastfeeding.

WIC is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with families to encourage breastfeeding and applaud those who are currently breastfeeding. For the entire month of August, the Office of Nutrition Services (ONS) will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Month with Women, Infants and Children participants. Our goal is to educate the community about the value of breastfeeding for the mother, baby and family, as well as society. This year's theme is "Mother Support: Going for the Gold." In conjunction with the Olympics, the purpose of the theme is for mothers to have more support in helping their infants receive the gold standard in childhood nutrition: breastmilk. It is recommended that infants be breastfed exclusively for at least six months to achieve optimal nutrition and provide appropriate complementary foods thereafter. It is also recommended to continue breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond, if mutually desired.

For more information, please contact: Stephanie K. Whitney, Breastfeeding Coordinator, WV Women, Infants and Children Office of Nutrition Services, Bureau for Public Health, 350 Capitol Street, Charleston, WV 25301; phone: (304)558-0030 or


(1.) Armstrong, Julie; Armstrong, Reilly, (2002). Breastfeeding and lowering the risk of childhood obesity. Lancet, 359 (9322), 2003-2004.

(2.) Hediger, Mary L.; Overpeck, Mary D.; Kuczmarski, Robert J.; Ruan, W. June, (2001). Association between infant breastfeeding and overweight in young children. Journal of the American Medical Association: 285(19), 2453-2460.
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