Objective: Breastfeeding reduces the risk of asthma and respiratory infections in infants. Since respiratory infections are associated with reduced pulmonary function in adolescents, pulmonary function impairment may be carried into adulthood. Our aim was to determine whether a history of having been breastfed as an infant is a determinant of adult pulmonary function.
Methods: We analyzed data from a general population sample of residents of Erie and Niagara Counties between September 1995 and December 1999. We calculated forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)) and forced vital capacity (FVC) prediction equations and used multiple linear regression models to study the association between having been breastfed as an infant and percentage predicted FEV(1) (FEV(1)%) and percentage predicted FVC (FVC%) after adjustment for covariates.
Results: Of 2305 subjects, 62% reported having been breastfed. After controlling for age, gender, weight, smoking status, pack-years of smoking, eosinophil counts and dietary factors, there was no association between having been breastfed (yes/no) and FEV(1)% or FVC% (regression coefficients 0.0049, p = 0.46 and 0.0055, p = 0.43, respectively).
Conclusions: We did not find a strong or consistent association between having been breastfed as an infant and pulmonary function in adulthood.