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Breastfeeding and Obesity

There’s a lot of discussion about Americans becoming more overweight and obese.  We know this puts us at risk for many diseases, lower quality of life, etc. Some of the changes we are experiencing are a result of our changes in our lifestyles. We have found from the past 30 years of research that there has been an association with a reduction in the risk of obesity in adolescence and adulthood compared with those not breastfed. Public Health efforts include informing families, health care providers and the community about actions that can be taken to improve our health as a nation as well as a state.

Breastfeeding/Obesity Association

  • Overall, there is an association between a history of breastfeeding and a reduction in the risk of being overweight or obese in adolescence and adulthood.
  • Breastfed infants are less likely to become overweight or obese as adults
  • Breastfeeding has been associated with a reduction in the risk of obesity in adolescence and adulthood compared with those not breastfed.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of overweight or obesity in adolescence and adulthood by 7-24%.
  • One study found a 4% reduction in the risk of being overweight in adulthood for each additional month of breastfeeding in infancy.
  • Bottle fed full term infants have a 3.2 times greater risk of rapid weight gain between ages 2 and 6 years compare to breastfed infants.
  • Breastfeeding women experience greater weight and fat loss than non-breastfeeding women.
  • Women who breastfeed longer than 6 months and those who do so exclusively are more likely to achieve greater weight loss.