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Not Breast-Feeding Tied to Higher Risk of Heart Disease

Last Updated: January 04, 2010.

Women who do not breast-feed their children are more likely to have subclinical signs of cardiovascular disease than women who consistently breast-feed, according to a study in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

MONDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Women who do not breast-feed their children are more likely to have subclinical signs of cardiovascular disease than women who consistently breast-feed, according to a study in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues examined the association between self-reported lactation history and subclinical cardiovascular disease (coronary and aortic calcification, carotid adventitial diameter, intima-media thickness, and carotid plaque) in 297 mothers aged 45 to 58 years without clinical cardiovascular disease.

After adjusting for socioeconomic status, lifestyle and family history, compared with women who had breast-fed their children for at least three months, the researchers found that mothers who had not breast-fed had a higher risk of aortic calcification (odds ratio, 3.85) and coronary artery calcification (odds ratio, 2.78) than mothers who had consistently breast-fed. After further adjusting for body mass index and cardiovascular risk factors, mothers who had not breast-fed had a higher risk of aortic calcification (odds ratio, 5.26).

"In conclusion, this study shows that women who do not breast-feed their children may be at increased risk of aortic and coronary calcification and thus subsequent cardiovascular disease," Schwarz and colleagues write. "These findings support recommendations that women breast-feed their infants in the interest of both maternal and child health."

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