Women who breastfeed for six months or longer reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly half for women during their reproductive years, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente, published January 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“We found a strong correlation between the duration of breastfeeding and the reduced risk of developing diabetes, even after accounting for all confounding factors,” said lead author Erica P. Gunderson, Ph.D., MS, MPH, research director, Kaiser Permanente Research Division.

Women who had breastfed for six months or more in all births reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 47% compared to those who had not breastfed at all. Women who had breastfed for six months or less had a 25% reduction in diabetes risk.

Gunderson and colleagues analyzed data from over 30 years of surveillance studies on the risk of coronary heart disease in young adults (or cardia), a national risk and research risk factor for multicenter cardiovascular disease originating from approximately 5,000 adults ages 18 to 30 between 1985 and 1986, including more than 1,000 members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

The new evidence adds to a growing body of evidence that breastfeeding has a protective effect for mothers and their children, including reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in the mother. CARDIA’s findings also agree with the NIH-funded women’s study, infant feeding and type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, with GDM (SWIFT), also led by Gunderson, including a routine biochemical screening for diabetes in women with a gestational early pregnancy in the postpartum period and years later.

The long-term benefit of breastfeeding compared to a lower risk of diabetes was similar in black and white women and in women with and without gestational diabetes. Black women were 3 times more likely as white women to develop diabetes within the 30-years study, which is consistent with the higher risk for other people. Black women who participated in CARDIA were also less likely to breastfeed than white women.

“The incidence of diabetes has steadily decreased with increasing breastfeeding duration, regardless of race, gestational diabetes, behavior, lifestyle, height, and other metabolic risk factors,” Gunderson said there are several plausible biological mechanisms for the protective effects of breastfeeding, including the influence of breastfeeding hormones in pancreatic cells that control blood insulin levels and therefore affect the blood sugar level.

Based on the strong evidence of the many health benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies, Kaiser Permanente offers strong support to all mothers who choose to breastfeed.

“We have long recognized that breastfeeding brings many benefits to both mothers and infants, but previous studies have shown weak effects on women’s chronic diseases,” said Tracy Flanagan, MD, director of health. the woman at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. “Now we see much greater protection from this new study, which shows that breastfeeding mothers can halve their risk of developing type 2 diabetes for months after birth.” This is another reason why doctors, nurses, hospitals and politicians should support women and their families as long as possible in breastfeeding. ”

This study included 1,238 black and white women without diabetes when they participated in CARDIA or before their subsequent pregnancy. For the next 30 years, every woman had at least one live birth and was systematically screened for diabetes according to the CARDI protocol, which included criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes. Participants also reported lifestyle behaviors (such as diet and physical activity) and the overall duration of breastfeeding of their children.

“Unlike previous breastfeeding studies that were based on the self-report on the onset of diabetes and started to follow older women later in life, we were able to specifically follow women during breastfeeding period and routinely assessed for diabetes before and after pregnancy, “Gunderson said. She and her colleagues were also able to explain the metabolic risk before pregnancy, including obesity and fasting glucose and insulin, lifestyle habits, family history of diabetes, and perinatal outcomes.

The current study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which was led by Gunderson. The study on the development of coronary artery risk in young adults (CARDIA) is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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