Online Program

Breastfeeding and childhood obesity: Analysis of a linked longitudinal study of Appalachian children

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Amna Umer, BDS, MPH, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Candice Hamilton, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Cris Britton, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Martha Mullett, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Collin John, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
William Neal, MD, Pediatrics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Christa Lilly, PhD, School of Public Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Background: Globally, 1.5 billion people were overweight/obese in 2008 (WHO). At least 2.6 million people die each year due to overweight/obese health-related conditions. In the US, 30.6% of children are considered overweight/obese (CDC, 2003). The rural Appalachian state of West Virginia (WV) has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the nation. Between 1998-2012, 47.1% of 5th grade WV children were overweight/obese. Recent evidence suggests that breastfeeding plays a role in reducing childhood obesity.

Objective: To assess differences in obesity of 5th grade WV children who were either breastfed or not breastfed.

Methods: Secondary data-analysis was conducted using longitudinally matched data from two cross-sectional data sources, the WV Birth Score and the Coronary Artery Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) projects. Participants included 4506 WV children born between1998-2002. Body Mass Index (BMI) adjusted percent was defined as percent above the ideal BMI for age and gender. Exposure was occurrence of breastfeeding.

Results: The mean BMI adjusted percent of children who were not breastfed was greater than those who were breastfed (19.4% above ideal versus 17.1%; p=0.0053). The results of the multiple regression (p < 0.001) show that breastfeeding significantly predicts BMI adjusted percent (p=0.042), after controlling for birth weight and maternal smoking status.

Conclusions: Results support the growing body of research that suggests breastfeeding to be protective against childhood obesity, although this association may be small. These findings confirm the need for early interventions to guide mothers on appropriate feeding practices as one strategy to reduce childhood obesity.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity among Appalachian children Outline scientific evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding.

Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a student in Epidemiology interested in conducting research on childhood obesity and infant feeding practices.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.