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C. Can Breastfeeding Lessen the Onset of Childhood Obesity?

Narrator: This is Science Today. Human health care scientists are looking into whether or not breastfeeding is an effective method for later managing childhood obesity. Nutrition specialist Lucia Kaiser of the University of California, Davis, explains.

Kaiser: Eight of eleven different studies show that there is a significant relationship between breastfeeding and a lower risk of being overweight in childhood. Those children that were breastfed were thirty-four percent less likely to be overweight when they were followed up later than children that had been given formula when they were babies.

Narrator: Kaiser says one of the theories for this may be that it's nature's system of self-regulation.

Kaiser: In some cases, breastfeeding over a longer period of time seems to be more protective of overweight - it may be that babies who are breastfed learn how to self-regulate intake a little bit better than the formula-fed infant. It could have something to do with hormonal effects as well.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.