Well­ness Arti­cles

Breast-​Feeding Dur­ing Infancy May Lower Blood Pres­sures in Child­hood

Accord­ing to a report by the March 02, 2004 Reuters Health, indi­vid­u­als who were breast-​fed dur­ing infancy appear to have a decreased risk of death from heart dis­ease, and now new research sug­gests that this may be due to blood pressure-​lowering effects. The find­ings are based on a study of 4,763 non-​twin, full-​term infants who had their blood pres­sures deter­mined at 7.5 years of age.

Dr. Richard M. Mar­tin, from the Uni­ver­sity of Bris­tol in the UK, and col­leagues found that breast-​fed chil­dren had sys­tolic blood pres­sure (the top num­ber of the blood pres­sure read­ing) lower than those of chil­dren who were not breast-​fed. The study showed that there was lit­tle dif­fer­ence between infants who were only breast-​fed and those who received a com­bi­na­tion of breast milk and for­mula. The study did show that the dura­tion of breast-​feeding had an increas­ingly pos­i­tive effect, cre­at­ing a notable decrease in blood pres­sure for each addi­tional 3 months of breastfeeding.

Dr. Mar­tin noted the impor­tance of even a slight decrease in blood pres­sure by com­ment­ing, “A one-​percent reduc­tion in pop­u­la­tion sys­tolic blood pres­sure lev­els is asso­ci­ated with about a 1.5-percent reduc­tion in all-​cause mor­tal­ity, equiv­a­lent to a less­en­ing in pre­ma­ture death of about 8000 to 2000 deaths per year in the United States and the United King­dom, respectively”

Ran­dom Article

A fea­ture story in the Jan­u­ary 9, 2004 issue of the Boston Globe high­lights just how expen­sive med­ical care is in the United States.

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