medwireNews: Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study II bolster the association between longer breastfeeding duration and lower risk for type 2 diabetes in women with gestational diabetes.
As reported in Diabetes Care, the risk for type 2 diabetes decreased in line with the total amount of time spent breastfeeding over a woman’s lifetime.
Sylvia Ley (Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) and co-researchers looked at a total of 4372 women with gestational diabetes, 873 of whom later developed type 2 diabetes. The women were monitored into their early 60s, covering a time of increased type 2 diabetes risk.
Type 2 diabetes risk was reduced by 27% among those who spent more than 24 months breastfeeding relative to those who did not breastfeed at all, and this was independent of confounders including age at first birth, baseline diet quality and physical activity, and prepregnancy BMI. And exclusive breastfeeding for more than 12 months was associated with a 30% risk reduction.
In line with this, longer total breastfeeding duration was associated with lower levels of glycated hemoglobin, insulin, and C-peptide at a median age of 58 years.
The team stresses the importance of encouraging breastfeeding among women with gestational diabetes, “who are at increased risk for experiencing breastfeeding challenges in early postpartum in addition to being at higher risk for type 2 diabetes progression later in life.”
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