Does breastfeeding lower the risk for childhood obesity: what is the evidence?
Background: Investigate the evidence to determine what the association is between exclusive breastfeeding and childhood obesity. Method: Systematic reviews, meta-analysis and cohort studies were used to determine the impact of breastfeeding on childhood obesity. Results: Five studies consisting of the highest quality research possible; two systematic reviews and meta-analysis, one systematic review and a cohort study. A total number of 110 papers were included in the analysis of the above. Twenty of the 110 papers focused specifically on exclusive breastfeeding and childhood obesity, but valuable information was obtained from the other papers. Conclusion: Research suggests that early breastfeeding especially of longer duration, helps to protect against childhood obesity. Higher quality studies must be undertaken to determine whether this association is absolute or confused by confounding factors.