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News

Breastfeeding linked to lower blood pressure

University Of Bristol : 18 April, 2007  (Technical Article)
Doctors at the University of Bristol have reported that the benefits of breastfeeding could pay off many years later by helping to reduce levels of blood pressure, a factor that contributes to heart attacks in later life.
A new study of seven-year-old children has shown a difference in their blood pressure according to whether they were breast-fed or bottle-fed as babies. These results suggest that lower blood pressure could be added to the list of known benefits of breastfeeding.

This latest report is based on data collected by the Children of the 90s project, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, based at the University of Bristol. The study is published in ĎCirculationí, the journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers measured the blood pressure of 4,763 children. On average the children who had been breastfed beyond the age of two months (34 per cent) had about one millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) lower blood pressure at age seven than did children who had been brought up exclusively on formula milk.

The longer a child was breastfed, the greater the difference. Previous research suggests that the benefits could be even more pronounced later in their lives.

Dr Richard Martin from the University of Bristolís Department of Social Medicine says that although the difference found was quite small, this could still have important public health implications for the adult population. It has been calculated that a one per cent reduction in blood pressure across the population could reduce the mortality rate by 1.5 per cent.
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