Overweight and obesity in 6- to 14-year-old Czech children in 1991: protective effect of breast-feeding

J Pediatr. 2002 Dec;141(6):764-9. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2002.128890.


Objective: To assess the impact of breast-feeding on childhood overweight/obesity in an Eastern European socialist society with relatively homogeneous lifestyles.

Study design: Cross-sectional survey data collected in 1991 on 33,768 school-children aged 6 to 14 years in the Czech Republic were analyzed by using multiple logistic regression analyses (main outcome body mass index [BMI] >90th percentile [overweight] and BMI >97th percentile [obesity]).

Results: Overall prevalence of overweight (obesity) was lower in breast-fed children: ever breast-fed (9.3%; 95% CI, 8.9-9.6 [3.2%; 95% CI, 3.0-3.4]) compared with never breast-fed (12.4%; 95% CI, 11.3-13.6 [4.4%; 95% CI, 3.7-5.2]). The effect of breast-feeding on overweight/obesity did not diminish with age in children 6 to 14 years old and could not be explained by parental education, parental obesity, maternal smoking, high birth weight, watching television, number of siblings, and physical activity. Adjusted odds ratios for breast-feeding were for overweight 0.80 (95% CI, 0.71-0.90) and for obesity 0.80 (95% CI, 0.66-0.96).

Conclusions: A reduced prevalence of overweight/obesity was associated with breast-feeding in a setting where socioeconomic status was homogeneous. This suggests that the effect of breast-feeding on the prevalence of obesity is not confounded by socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Child
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors