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Arch Dis Child. 2000 Mar;82(3):248-52.

Infant feeding and adult glucose tolerance, lipid profile, blood pressure, and obesity.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.



It is generally accepted that breast feeding has a beneficial effect on the health of infants and young children. Recently, a few studies have shown that the method of infant feeding is also associated with cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in adult life.


To examine the association between the method of infant feeding in the first weeks after birth and glucose tolerance, plasma lipid profile, blood pressure, and body mass in adults aged 48-53 years.


Subjects born at term between 1 November 1943 and 28 February 1947 in the Wilhelmina Gasthuis in Amsterdam around the time of a severe period of famine (late November 1944 to early May 1945). For 625 subjects, information was available about infant feeding at the time of discharge from hospital (on average 10.4 days after birth), and at least one blood sample after an overnight fast.


Subjects who were bottle fed had a higher mean 120 minute plasma glucose concentration after a standard oral glucose tolerance test than those who were exclusively breast fed. They also had a higher plasma low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration, a lower high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentration, and a higher LDL/HDL ratio. Systolic blood pressure and body mass index were not affected by the method of infant feeding.


Exclusive breast feeding seems to have a protective effect against some risk factors for cardiovascular disease in later life.

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