Association between characteristics at birth, breastfeeding and obesity in 22 countries

Recently published research by the WHO investigated the association between characteristics at birth, breastfeeding, and obesity among children.

Data from 22 participating countries in the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) study (round 4: 2015/2017) was collected using cross-sectional, nationally representative samples of 6- to 9-year-olds. Children’s weight and height measurements followed a standardized WHO protocol. Information on the children’s birth weight and breastfeeding practice, including duration was collected through a family record form.

The study confirms the beneficial effect of breastfeeding against obesity, which was significantly increased if children had never been breastfed or had been breastfed for less than 6 months.

Main findings from the report include:

  • A wide between-country disparity (value) in breastfeeding prevalence was found.
  • In France, Ireland and Malta, only around 1 in 4 children was breastfed for ≥ 6 months.
  • Italy and Malta showed the highest prevalence of obesity among children who have never been breastfed (21.2%), followed by Spain (21.0%).
  • Overall, compared to children who were breastfed for at least 6 months, the odds of being obese were higher among children never breastfed or breastfed for a shorter period.
Posted: 30/04/2019 15:28:56 by Deirdre Brennan
Filed under: Breastfeeing, Childhood obesity, Overweight and obesity


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