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Association between breast-feeding and anthropometry and CVD risk factor status in adolescence and young adulthood: the Young Hearts Project, Northern Ireland

  • Valerie A Holmes (a1), Chris Cardwell (a2), Michelle C McKinley (a3), Ian S Young (a3), Liam J Murray (a2), Colin A Boreham (a4) and Jayne V Woodside (a3)...

Abstract

Objective

To examine the association between breast-feeding and blood pressure, anthropometry and plasma lipid profile in both adolescence and young adulthood.

Design

Longitudinal study of biological and behavioural risk factors for CVD.

Setting

The Young Hearts Project, Northern Ireland.

Subjects

Schoolchildren aged 12 years and 15 years who participated in a cross-sectional study of lifestyle and health, and who were followed up as young adults aged 20–25 years.

Results

There was no significant difference in height, weight, BMI, skinfold thickness measurements, blood pressure or plasma lipid profile in adolescents who had been breast-fed compared with those who had not been breast-fed. However, by the time these adolescents had reached adulthood, those who had been breast-fed were significantly taller than those who had not been breast-fed (standing height, P = 0·013; leg length, P = 0·035). Specifically, the breast-fed group was on average taller by 1·7 cm (95 % CI 0·4, 3·0 cm) and had longer legs by 1·0 cm (95 % CI 0·1, 1·9 cm). There was no significant difference in other anthropometric measures, blood pressure or plasma lipid profile in adults who had been breast-fed compared with those who had not been breast-fed.

Conclusions

Compared with those who had not been breast-fed, individuals who had been breast-fed were taller in adulthood. Given the known association of increased adult height with improved life expectancy, the results from the present study support a beneficial effect of breast-feeding.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email v.holmes@qub.ac.uk

References

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