[ 2006-09-20 09:00 ]
Overweight and obese women are less likely than normal-weight
women to keep breastfeeding
their infants for six months or longer, a study from Australia
Dr. Wendy Hazel Oddy of the Telethon Institute for Child Health
Research in Perth and colleagues looked at 1,803 children and their
mothers participating in a large pregnancy study. Eighteen percent of the
women were overweight or obese before becoming pregnant.
After the researchers adjusted for factors including socioeconomic
status and years of education, they found that women who were overweight
or obese were less apt to attempt breastfeeding at all and those that did
were less likely to continue breastfeeding.
Obese women were about twice as likely to have breastfed for less than
two months or less than four months, while overweight women were 52
percent more likely than normal weight women to have stopped breastfeeding
before two months, and 62 percent more likely to have stopped before four
Overall, the researchers found, overweight or obese women were 76
percent more likely to stop breastfeeding before their infants were six
months old than their normal weight peers.
A number of factors could help explain the findings, the investigators
say. For example, excess weight may change a woman's hormonal profile,
making sustained lactation
more difficult, or it may be harder for an infant to "latch on" to breast
tissue if the mother is overweight or obese.
The researchers also report that overweight and obese women were more
likely to have pregnancy complications and C-sections than normal-weight women.