Background: Childhood obesity has become a global public health issue, with a rising prevalence in recent years. Obesity during childhood is associated with various adverse health outcomes, including an increased risk of developing chronic diseases later in life.
Objective: This cross-sectional observational study aimed to assess the relationship between breastfeeding duration and childhood obesity risk in a sample of 100 participants aged 5 to 10 years. Childhood obesity is a significant public health concern, and understanding the potential impact of breastfeeding on obesity risk is crucial for developing preventive strategies.
Methods: Data were collected from a diverse group of children from various schools and pediatric clinics in the region. Participants' medical records and parental surveys provided information on breastfeeding duration and relevant factors. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated based on height and weight measurements, and participants were classified as obese or non-obese using age-specific BMI percentiles.
Results: The study included 100 participants, with an average age of 7.3 years (± 1.2 SD). The mean duration of breastfeeding was 6.8 months (± 2.1 SD), ranging from 3 to 12 months. Based on BMI percentiles, 32 participants (32%) were classified as obese, and 68 participants (68%) were classified as non-obese. Children were categorized into two groups based on the median duration of breastfeeding. Group 1 included participants breastfed for 7 months or less (n=53), while Group 2 included those breastfed for more than 7 months (n=47). The prevalence of childhood obesity was significantly lower in Group 2 (17%) compared to Group 1 (47%) (p<0.001, chi-square test), suggesting that longer breastfeeding duration was associated with a reduced risk of childhood obesity.
Conclusion: Our findings provide evidence supporting an inverse association between breastfeeding duration and childhood obesity risk. Children breastfed for longer durations demonstrated a significantly lower prevalence of obesity compared to those breastfed for shorter periods. Promoting and supporting breastfeeding may serve as a crucial preventive strategy to mitigate the risk of childhood obesity. However, further prospective longitudinal studies are warranted to establish causality and explore the underlying mechanisms. Understanding the impact of breastfeeding on childhood obesity is essential for devising effective interventions to address this growing public health concern.