Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMJ. 2003 Oct 18;327(7420):901.

Anthropometry and body composition of 18 year old men according to duration of breast feeding: birth cohort study from Brazil.

Author information

  • 1Post-Graduate Programme in Epidemiology, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, CP 464, 96001-970, Pelotas, RS, Brazil.



To assess the association between duration of breast feeding and measures of adiposity in adolescence.


Population based birth cohort study.


Pelotas, a city of 320 000 inhabitants in a relatively developed area in southern Brazil.


All newborn infants in the city's hospitals were enrolled in 1982; 78.8% (2250) of all male participants were located at age 18 years when enrolling in the national army.


Weight, height, sitting height, subscapular and triceps skinfolds, and body composition (body fat, lean mass).


Neither the duration of total breast feeding nor that of predominant breast feeding (breast milk plus non-nutritive fluids) showed consistent associations with anthropometric or body composition indices. After adjustment for confounding factors, the only significant associations were a greater than 50% reduction in obesity among participants breast fed for three to five months compared with all other breastfeeding categories (P = 0.007) and a linear decreasing trend in obesity with increasing duration of predominant breast feeding (P = 0.03). Similar significant effects were not observed for other measures of adiposity. Borderline direct associations also occurred between total duration of breast feeding and adult height (P = 0.06).


The significant reduction in obesity among children breast fed for three to five months is difficult to interpret, as no a priori hypothesis existed regarding a protective effect of intermediate duration of breast feeding. The findings indicate that, in this population, breast feeding has no marked protective effect against adolescent adiposity.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk