Association between breastfeeding and anthropometry and cardiovascular disease risk factor status in adolescence and young adulthood: the Young Hearts Project, Northern Ireland.

Valerie Holmes, Christopher Cardwell, Michelle McKinley, Ian Young, Liam Murray, C.A. Boreham, Jayne Woodside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To examine the association between breastfeeding and blood pressure, anthropometry, and plasma lipid profile in both adolescence and young adulthood. Design: Longitudinal study of biological and behavioural risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Setting: The Young Hearts Project, Northern Ireland Subjects: School children 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, skin-fold thickness measurements, blood pressure or plasma lipid profile in adolescents who had been breastfed when compared to those who had not been breastfed. However, by the time these adolescents had reached adulthood, those who had been breastfed were significantly taller when compared to those who had not been breastfed (standing height, P=0.013; leg length (P=0.035)). Specifically, the breastfed group were on average taller by 1.7cm (95% CI 0.4, 3.0) and had longer legs by 1cm (95% CI 0.1, 1.9). There was no significant difference in other anthropometric measures, blood pressure or plasma lipid profile in adults who had been breastfed when compared to those who had not been breastfed. Conclusions: Compared with those who had not been breastfed, individuals who had been breastfed were taller in adulthood. Given the known association of increased adult height with improved life expectancy the results from this study support a beneficial effect of breastfeeding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-778
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume13
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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