Babies fed exclusively with breast milk are less likely to be overweight children than babies fed only with formula, a study of U.S. babies showed.
The findings suggest that breastfeeding could stem the pattern of overweight and diabetes among children born to mothers with diabetes, WebMD reported Wednesday.
The study said exclusively breastfed babies had about a 34 percent lowered risk of being overweight during childhood.
Besides reducing a child's risk for being overweight, the study said breastfeeding also appears to help reduce a child's risk for obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, WebMD said.
Government statistics show more than 12.5 million children ages 2 to 19 in the United States are overweight, WebMD said. This accounts for just more than 17 percent of this group.
These statistics also showed a corresponding rise in cases of type 2 diabetes, associated with being overweight or being obese, which at one time was rarely seen in children and teens, WebMD said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that the percentage of young people in the United States considered overweight has more than tripled since 1980, WebMD said.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise