Effect of suboptimal breast-feeding on occurrence of autism: a case-control study

Nutrition. 2012 Jul;28(7-8):e27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.01.007. Epub 2012 Apr 26.


Objective: To evaluate the association between suboptimal breast-feeding practices and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

Methods: A case-control study was conducted in 102 ASD cases and 102 matched healthy controls.

Results: Based on adjusted odds ratios from logistic regression models, ASD was found to be associated with the late initiation of breast-feeding (odds ratio 1.48, 95% confidence interval 1.01-3.1), a non-intake of colostrum (odds ratio 1.7, 95% confidence interval 1.03-4.3), prelacteal feeding, and bottle-feeding. The risk of ASD was found to decrease in a dose-response fashion over increasing periods of exclusive breast-feeding (P for trend = 0.04) and continued breast-feeding (P for trend = 0.001).

Conclusion: The study indicates that increased ASD risk is generally associated with suboptimal breast-feeding practices.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Breast Feeding* / ethnology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / epidemiology*
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / ethnology
  • Child Development*
  • Child Health Services
  • Child, Preschool
  • Colostrum
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Oman / epidemiology
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk
  • Surveys and Questionnaires