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Lactation Duration Linked to Reduced Incidence of Diabetes

Last Updated: January 16, 2018.

Lactation duration is associated with reduced incidence of diabetes, according to a study published online Jan. 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, Jan. 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Lactation duration is associated with reduced incidence of diabetes, according to a study published online Jan. 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Erica P. Gunderson, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues examined the correlation between lactation and progression to diabetes using biochemical testing before and after pregnancy. Data were included for 1,238 women from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study of black and white women aged 18 to 30 years without diabetes at baseline (1985 to 1986) who were screened for diabetes up to seven times during a 30-year period (1986 to 2016).

The researchers identified 182 incident diabetes cases during 27,598 person-years for an overall incidence rate of 6.6 cases per 1,000 person-years; the rates for women with and without gestational diabetes were 18 and 5.1, respectively. There was a strong, graded inverse correlation for lactation duration with diabetes incidence (adjusted relative hazard for more than zero to six months, 0.75 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.51 to 1.09]; for more than six months to less than 12 months, 0.52 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.31 to 0.87]; and for 12 months or more, 0.53 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.29 to 0.98] versus none). There was no modification of the effect by race, gestational diabetes, or parity.

"This study provides longitudinal biochemical evidence that lactation duration is independently associated with lower incidence of diabetes," the authors write. "Further investigation is required to elucidate mechanisms that may explain this relationship."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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