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Breast-feeding and formula feeding in healthy term infants and bone health at age 10 years

  • M. S. Fewtrell (a1), K. Kennedy (a1), Peter R. Murgatroyd (a2), J. E. Williams (a1), S. Chomtho (a1) and A. Lucas (a1)...

Abstract

Few studies have investigated the effects of infant nutrition on later bone health in term infants, although low sn-2 palmitate in infant formulas has been shown to result in the formation of stool fatty acid soaps, reduced Ca absorption and lower bone mass in the short term. To investigate the effect of (1) breast-feeding (BF) and (2) the type of infant formula (standard fat blend v. high-sn-2 fat blend) on bone mass at age 10 years, anthropometry and bone mass (from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (GE Lunar Prodigy); lumbar spine (LS) and total body less head; adjusted for size (bone mineral apparent density standard deviation score (SDS) and regression)) were measured in 10-year-old subjects born at term and either breast-fed (n 34) or randomised to a standard control formula (n 27) or a high-sn-2 palmitate formula (n 30) for the first 12 weeks of life. At follow-up, previously BF children were older but lighter (by 0·5 SDS, P= 0·03) than formula-fed children with a lower LS bone mineral density SDS (by 0·44, P= 0·03), but size-adjusted bone mass did not differ. There were no significant differences in bone mass between the formula-fed groups. These findings suggest that there is no significant effect of BF or high-sn-2 infant formula on size-adjusted bone mass in mid-childhood, and that the effects of infant nutrition on bone mass previously reported may be confined to the short term. A larger study would be required to exclude smaller effects.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr M. S. Fewtrell, fax +44 12078319903, email m.fewtrell@ucl.ac.uk

References

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