The association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity: a meta-analysis

BMC Public Health. 2014 Dec 13;14:1267. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1267.

Abstract

Background: The increase in childhood obesity is a serious public health concern. Several studies have indicated that breastfed children have a lower risk of childhood obesity than those who were not breastfed, while other studies have provided conflicting evidence. The objective of this meta-analysis was to investigate the association between breastfeeding and the risk of childhood obesity.

Methods: The PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL Plus with Full Text databases were systematically searched from start date to 1st August 2014. Based on the meta-analysis, pooled adjusted odds ratio (AOR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated. I2 statistic was used to evaluate the between-study heterogeneity. Funnel plots and Fail-safe N were used to assess publication bias and reliability of results, and results from both Egger test and Begg test were reported.

Results: Twenty-five studies with a total of 226,508 participants were included in this meta-analysis. The studies' publication dates ranged from 1997 to 2014, and they examined the population of 12 countries. Results showed that breastfeeding was associated with a significantly reduced risk of obesity in children (AOR = 0.78; 95% CI: 0.74, 0.81). Categorical analysis of 17 studies revealed a dose-response effect between breastfeeding duration and reduced risk of childhood obesity.

Conclusion: Results of our meta-analysis suggest that breastfeeding is a significant protective factor against obesity in children.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk