Breastfeeding ‘Protects Against Diabetes’
Written by Editor   
Monday, December 21, 2015 08:06 AM

It appears, from a preliminary report, that breastfeeding can have a significant role in preventing diabetes.

New evidence has emerged on the role that breastfeeding could have in preventing diabetes.  Early results from a Canadian study suggest that breastfeeding reduces the risk of mothers and their offspring developing the condition.

A person with type 2 diabetes has high blood sugar due to inability of their pancreas to produce enough insulin. The condition usually follows a period of insulin resistance, meaning the body does not react properly to insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, and rates of diabetes are increasing worldwide. This study explored the link between breastfeeding and type 2 diabetes rates in the Canadian province. 

In total they studied 334,553 deliveries during a 24-year period in Manitoba. Of these, 60,088 births were to mothers from indigenous communities where rates of diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes) are 2 to 3 times higher than among non-indigenous mothers. Gestational diabetes is known to be associated with a higher risk of later development of type 2 diabetes among both mothers and their offspring.

Breastfeeding was recorded in 56% of indigenous mothers and 83% of non-indigenous mothers.

The researchers found that breastfeeding was associated with:

  • A 14% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes among indigenous mothers

  • A 23% reduced risk among non-indigenous mothers

  • An 18% lower risk among all children regardless of ethnicity.

These results were independent of other factors, including gestational diabetes, gestational high blood pressure, family income, location of residence, age of mothers at birth and the birth weight of offspring.