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Read Original Story

Study: Breast-Feeding Won’t Deter Obesity

Rating

4 Star

Study: Breast-Feeding Won’t Deter Obesity

Our Review Summary

The story reports on recently published data from the Nurses Health Study showing no association between breast feeding as an infant and protection again obesity in adulthood. The story appropriately mentions that there are many factors related to lifestyle and nutrition – in childhood and in later life – that can affect a person's BMI. 

 

 

 

Breast feeding was previously thought to act as prevention against obesity in later life because breast-fed infants gain weight more slowly than formula-fed infants, and formula-fed infants have increased insulin resistance, possibly affecting metabolism. Therefore, the CDC and other groups who support breastfeeding programs may consider this latest data in an effort to provide up-to-date, evidence-based promotional materials. 

 

Despite the evidence from this observational cohort study of women who were breast fed and those who were not, breast feeding is still a positive health behavior, and the story lists some of the positives of breast feeding, but only for children. The story does not list the potential health benefits of breast feeding for new mothers.  There is evidence for both short-term and long-term health benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and infants. Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to develop otitis media, gastrointestinal problems, and urinary tract infections.  Women who breastfeed more quickly use the body fat stores from pregnancy and may loose pregnancy-related weight more quickly compared to women who do not breastfeed. Thus, they may reduce their risk of conditions related to additional weight (e.g. diabetes, high-blood pressure, etc.)

 

The story interviews the lead author of the study, an official from the CDC's maternal and child nutrition branch and pediatricians who provide clinical perspective on the results of this latest research regarding breast feeding and obesity. 

 

Overall, a well-done story – and in only 605 words.
 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not list the cost of bottle formula, which may be a significant issue for some. It would have been easy to note one of the benefits not called into question about this report is that breastfeeding is "free".

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not provide data showing there is no association between breastfeeding and protection against adult obesity. There is some evidence linking breastfeeding and reduced childhood obesity, but again, the data are not provided. Additionally, there is evidence for both short-term and long-term health benefits of breastfeeding for both mothers and infants. The story doesn't quantify either.  

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

 The story does mention some of the positives of breastfeeding, but does not mention some of the downsides of bottle-feeding compared to breast feeding. Breast feeding is not associated with reduced risk of obesity in adulthood, but neither is formula-feeding.  Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to develop otitis media, gastrointestinal problems, and urinary tract infections.  Women who breastfeed more quickly use the body fat stores from pregnancy and may lose pregnancy-related weight more quickly compared to women who do not breastfeed. Thus, they may reduce their risk of conditions related to additional weight (e.g. diabetes, high-blood pressure, etc.). This is alluded to in the article but not emphasized.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

The story adequately describes the design of the observational cohort study and provides some of the major results of the study.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not engage in disease mongering. The story does talk about childhood obesity, which has increased in recent years.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story interviews the lead author of the study, an official from the CDC's maternal and child nutrition branch and pediatricians who provide clinical perspective on the results of this latest research regarding breast feeding and obesity. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story reviewed evidence seen in breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

It's clear from the story how widespread is the practice of breastfeeding. 

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story reports on recently published data from a cohort study showing no association of breast feeding with reduced BMI in adulthood. Breast feeding was previously thought to act as a prevention against obesity in later life. Therefore, the CDC and other groups who support breastfeeding programs may consider this latest data in an effort to provide up-to-date evidence-based promotional materials.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

The story used several independent sources, so it's safe to assume it did not rely solely or largely on a news release. 

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory

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