Background: The duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding in infancy have been inversely associated with future cardiometabolic risk. We investigated the effects of an experimental intervention to promote increased duration of exclusive breastfeeding on cardiometabolic risk factors in childhood.
Methods and results: We followed-up children in the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial, a cluster-randomized trial of a breastfeeding promotion intervention based on the World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. In 1996 to 1997, 17 046 breastfeeding mother-infant pairs were enrolled from 31 Belarusian maternity hospitals and affiliated polyclinics (16 intervention versus 15 control sites); 13 879 (81.4%) children were followed up at 11.5 years, with 13 616 (79.9%) who had fasted and did not have diabetes mellitus. The outcomes were blood pressure; fasting insulin, adiponectin, glucose, and apolipoprotein A1; and the presence of metabolic syndrome. Analysis was by intention to treat, accounting for clustering within hospitals/clinics. The intervention substantially increased breastfeeding duration and exclusivity in comparison with the control arm (43% versus 6% and 7.9% versus 0.6% exclusively breastfed at 3 and 6 months, respectively). Cluster-adjusted mean differences at 11.5 years between experimental versus control groups were as follows: 1.0 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, -1.1 to 3.1) for systolic and 0.8 mm Hg (-0.6 to 2.3) for diastolic blood pressure; -0.1 mmol/L (-0.2 to 0.1) for glucose; 8% (-3% to 34%) for insulin; -0.3 μg/mL (-1.5 to 0.9) for adiponectin; and 0.0 g/L (-0.1 to 0.1) for apolipoprotein A1. The cluster-adjusted odds ratio for metabolic syndrome, comparing experimental versus control groups, was 1.21 (0.85 to 1.72).
Conclusions: An intervention to improve breastfeeding duration and exclusivity among healthy term infants did not influence cardiometabolic risk factors in childhood.
Clinical trial registration: Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN37687716 (http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN37687716). URL: http://clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01561612.
Keywords: adiponectin; blood pressure; breast feeding; fasting; glucose; insulins; lactation; lipids; randomized controlled trial.