While the benefits of breastfeeding are well known and, for women who can, breastfeeding is encouraged, a new study has found that exposures during foetal development and early life (such as breastfeeding) may have effects on bone health in adulthood.
The new observational study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, followed 201 participants from infancy to 25 years old and determined that breastfeeding during infancy was associated with a lower risk of lower limb fractures when children reached young adulthood.
The study also found that maternal smoking was associated with a higher risk of upper limb fractures.
While the effects of breastfeeding and smoking on bone health were significant, the researchers observed no effects of birthweight on bone health.
“This study reinforces the view that healthy bones start in utero and early childhood, suggesting that prevention of osteoporosis should start as early as possible,” says senior author Graeme Jones, PhD, MD of the University of Tasmania.
To read the study, visit: asbmr.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/15234681.