New research suggests that the promotion of breastfeeding to women could provide a long-term reduction in obesity rates.
The research was funded by funded by Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council and was based on a data review of 740,000 post-menopausal females in the UK. They study was led by Professor Dame Valerie Beral, director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford.
According to NBC News, when the data was reviewed it was found that women who breastfed their children were found to have a lower body mass index (BMI) on average than those who did not. The research also demonstrated that for every six months that a woman had breastfed, her BMI was on average one per cent lower compared with women who did not breast feed their children.
One of the main reasons or the BMI reduction, as The Inquistir notes, is because breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day.
Kirsty Bobrow, a clinical researcher at the University of Oxford, is quoted by the Huffington Post as saying "These are long-term effects…For women in this study, childbearing and breastfeeding occurred on average 30 years before women's weights and heights were recorded."
As an aside the data also showed that the more children a woman had, the higher their BMI was likely to be.
The study findings have been published in the International Journal of Obesity.