Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Progressing To Type 2 Diabetes

Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Progressing To Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers through a large prospective cohort study found that women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes through breastfeeding.

The team of investigators led by Erica Gunderson, PhD, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, detailed in Annals of Internal Medicine that previously conducted studied on the same topic didn’t gave desired results.

Further in explanation Gunderson and his colleagues wrote that women who previously had a history of GDM are also at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are at 50% risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within five years after delivery.

In the study, the lactation intensity and duration appeared to be strong and had protective associations with diabetes mellitus incidence, independent of risk factors, they said.

“The American Diabetes Association recommends that women with GDM breastfeed their babies. However, previous evidence was insufficient to conclude that breastfeeding protected women against type 2 diabetes”, Gunderson told MedPage Today via email.

Researchers for the study studied more than 1,000 women with GDM that were enrolled with the Study of Women, Infant Feeding, and Type 2 Diabetes After GDM Pregnancy (SWIFT) between 2008 and 2011.

Out of the total study participants nearly 75% were Hispanic, Asian, or black, said researchers. During the study participants were given oral glucose tolerance tests at baseline for two years. It was found that only 12% of the participants developed type 2 diabetes during the study’s duration.

Researchers hope that their findings will help the health care systems to allocate greater resources for provision of breastfeeding education. It will also help to provide services to high-risk women with GDM so that they can start breastfeeding and lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Gunderson added.