Tuesday, July 03, 2007

IFC floods media with the statement: "Breastfeeding Not Associated with Reduced Risk of Adult Obesity"

IFC - International Formula Council - is issuing press releases concerning a recent study that found no relationship between breastfeeding, or formula feeding, and adult overweight.
This analysis was part of the Nurses Study - an extremely large prospective study - and found no significant relationship with the breastfeeding of the nurse and her adult BMI, etc.
In fact, it is likely that there are many intervening variables that may impact on adult obesity.

HOWEVER
THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS THAT THIS STUDY SHOULD BE VIEWED WITH CAUTION:
1. This particular aspect of the Nurses study was based on a retrospective recall by the nurses' mothers concerning their feeding of the nurse.
2. Breastfeeding duration and timing of the introduction of evaporated milk formula or commercial formula when the nurse was an infant was recorded from a sample of nurses' mothers. Most of this recall was for events that occurred more than 40 years earlier.
3. Validity of recall among women with multiple children deteriorates over time, let alone decades.
4. One group of women who were less likely to have been breastfed or breastfeed were eliminated (i.e., those with cancer).
5. The reported rates of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding are much higher (i.e., significantly very over-reported) if compared to the breastfeeding rates in that era.

And, by the way, many other large studies and meta-analyses continue to show the association between breastfeeding and less childhood overweight.

Now, please tell me why the IFC is pushing the finding from this study?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's disturbing that IFC has posted news of this study on its web site, along with others finding no significant impact of breastfeeding on obesity and IQ, without any mention of the myriad of studies supporting breastfeeding's health benefits.

Equally disturbing, as you have pointed out, is their suggestion, in this and other cases, that a single negative finding is sufficient to negate the body of research that came before it.

Sheryl Abrahams

CaryCarolina said...

Even if this study were well-designed, well-executed, and sufficient to make inferences about breastfeeding and adult obesity...

Isn't reduction of childhood obesity, delaying onset of obesity until adulthood, a pretty important and substantial outcome to be associated with breastfeeding?

It's not just the quality of the study and its conclusions that are dubious. The entire idea is a distraction from evidence about breastfeeding and childhood obesity.

CreditMom said...

I think there is enough evidence that there is a correlation between nutrition and obesity. This doesn't seem to be trustworthy.