The Endocrine Society

The Endocrine Society

March 22, 2018
2 min read

Exclusive breast-feeding reduces risk for childhood overweight, obesity

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CHICAGO — Infants with a high birth weight were less likely to develop overweight or obesity in childhood if they were exclusively breast-fed for the first 6 months of life, according to study data presented here.

“High birth weight is associated with overweight or obesity during early childhood,” Hae Soon Kim, MD, of Ewha Women’s University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, said in a press release. “Among high birth weight infants, exclusive breast-feeding is a significant protective factor against overweight and obesity.”

In a retrospective study, Kim and colleagues analyzed data from 38,089 children who underwent all health check-ups from birth through age 6 years between January 2008 and December 2016, using data from the National Health Information Database of Korea. At each check-up exam, researchers used logistic regression analysis to evaluate the association between birth weight status and growth development. Infants were stratified by birth weight into three groups: low birth weight (2,500 g or less), normal birth weight (between 2,500 and 4,000 g) and high birth weight (at least 4,000 g).

Over follow-up, 10% of infants in the low birth weight group developed overweight or obesity vs. 15% in the normal birth weight group and more than 25% in the high birth weight group, according to researchers. Compared with normal birth weight infants, those in the high birth weight group were nearly twice as likely to develop overweight or obesity by age 6 years (OR = 1.7-2.35), whereas low birth weight infants were more likely to be underweight at age 6 years vs. normal weight infants (OR = 1.69-2.2). However, researchers found that exclusive breast-feeding markedly decreased the risk for future overweight or obesity in the high birth weight group (OR = 0.54-0.79).

“High birth weight infants were highly likely to meet the criteria for obesity or overweight through 6 years of age compared with normal birth weight infants,” Kim said in the release. “But the risk of becoming overweight or obese dropped significantly among the high birth weight infants who were breast-fed for the first 6 months of life.” – by Regina Schaffer


Kim HS, et al. SUN-075. Presented at: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting; March 17-20, 2018; Chicago.

Disclosures: The Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea funded this study. Kim reports no relevant financial disclosures.