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Breastfeeding Found to Be Protective Against Hypertension

Last Updated: February 08, 2018.

Postmenopausal women who breastfed more children, or breastfed for a longer duration, have a lower risk of hypertension, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in the American Journal of Hypertension.

THURSDAY, Feb. 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women who breastfed more children, or breastfed for a longer duration, have a lower risk of hypertension, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in the American Journal of Hypertension.

Sangshin Park, D.V.M, Ph.D., from the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and Nam-Kyong Choi, Ph.D., from the Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, used data from the 2010 to 2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to identify 3,119 nonsmoking postmenopausal women ≥50 years old. The authors sought to examine the relationship between breastfeeding and hypertension.

The researchers found that among the highest quintile of number of breastfed children (five to 11 children), and the highest quintile of duration of breastfeeding (96 to 324 months), the odds of hypertension were 0.49 and 0.55, respectively, versus the lowest quintile groups. Increased insulin resistance significantly weakened the protective effect on hypertension of having breastfed more children. Similarly, greater obesity and insulin resistance significantly weakened the protective effects of having breastfed for longer.

"More children breastfed and longer duration of breastfeeding were associated with lower risk of hypertension in postmenopausal women, and degree of obesity and insulin resistance moderated the breastfeeding-hypertension association," the authors write. "Our findings endorsed the current recommendations of breastfeeding for the benefit of maternal health in mothers' later lives."

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