Science-- there's something for everyone

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stronger muscles through breastfeeding

Breastmilk is a superior source of infant nutrition for many different reasons. Enrique Artero of the University of Grenada led an international team in finding one more reason: increased lower body strength in adolescents.

In this study, the parents of over 2500 teenagers were asked how those kids had been fed as infants. In particular, they were asked whether the children had received any breastmilk, and if so, for how long. In addition, the kids were put through a series of physical tests, including a standing long jump. The kids who had been breastfed for at least three months were half as likely to perform badly on the long jump as those who had not been breastfed at all.

The authors conclude that breastfeeding early in life translated into stronger leg muscles during adolescence. As a huge advocate of breastfeeding, I’d like to see more studies in this vein. For example, how exactly does breastfeeding affect muscle strength? And is this true for other muscle groups as well?