Table 1Excess Health Risks Associated with Not Breastfeeding

OutcomeExcess Risk* (%)
Among full-term infants
 Acute ear infection (otitis media)2100
 Eczema (atopic dermatitis)1147
 Diarrhea and vomiting (gastrointestinal infection)3178
 Hospitalization for lower respiratory tract diseases in the first year4257
 Asthma, with family history267
 Asthma, no family history235
 Childhood obesity732
 Type 2 diabetes mellitus664
 Acute lymphocytic leukemia223
 Acute myelogenous leukemia518
 Sudden infant death syndrome256
Among preterm infants
 Necrotizing enterocolitis2138
Among mothers
 Breast cancer84
 Ovarian cancer227

The excess risk is approximated by using the odds ratios reported in the referenced studies. Further details are provided in Appendix 2.

From: The Importance of Breastfeeding

Cover of The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding
The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.
Office of the Surgeon General (US); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); Office on Women's Health (US).
Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2011.

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