Study Shows Breastfed Infants Have Lower Levels of Obesity as They Grow
The Journal of Pediatrics recently published a study showing that breastfed infants have different bacteria in their guts and lower levels of obesity, when compared to formula-fed infants. Breastmilk is a beneficial, specialized food for infants and their gut bacteria development. Breastmilk encourages the growth of “good bacteria” in the gut, which helps to digest and extract energy from food, thus influencing weight gain. According to the study, infants who were formula-fed had the most adult-like microbes at 3-4 months of age. Related to weight regulation, adult-like microbes are not beneficial to infants. Thirty-three percent of formula-fed infants in this study were overweight at 3 months, compared to only 19% of breastfed infants being overweight at the same age. There are other benefits to breastfeeding infants, such as protection against allergies, regulation of appetite, and increase in maternal-infant bonding. Early infancy is an important time for gut bacteria development, and feeding choices may influence weight as the child grows.
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