Breast-Feeding May Protect vs. Type 2 Diabetes


Breast-fed babies may be protected against developing type 2 diabetes during childhood, regardless of ethnicity, according to results from an adjunct study to the ongoing SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study.

The dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes in youth has inspired researchers to identify behaviors that might prevent both obesity and type 2 diabetes, wrote Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis, Ph.D., of the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and her colleagues.

Their case-control study, conducted at two of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study sites, included 80 participants aged 10–21 years with type 2 diabetes and 167 age-matched controls (Diabetes Care 2008;31:470–5).

Overall, the prevalence of breast-feeding for any length of time was significantly lower among youth with type 2 diabetes, compared with controls (31% vs. 64%).

When the study population was divided into three ethnic groups, the prevalence of breast-feeding was lower among black youth with type 2 diabetes than among controls (20% vs. 27%), although this difference was not statistically significant. But the difference remained significant among Hispanics (50% vs. 84%), and among non-Hispanic whites (39% vs. 78%).

The researchers noted previous evidence that a lower prevalence of breast-feeding among blacks, compared with other ethnicities, might be a confounding variable.

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