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Study: Breast feeding moms enjoy hidden health benefit

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 27th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Always considered healthy and natural, it appears that mothers who breastfeed their young enjoy a health benefit as well. A recent study has concluded that moms who nurse for more than six months reduce their risk of cancer death by as much as 10 percent. Not only that, but they cut their chances of death from heart attack and stroke by 17 percent.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - The study concluded that with all the main recommendations for a healthy life reduces the risk of dying from a range of diseases by a third.

Studying nearly 380,000 people in nine European countries over 12 years, scientists found that those who followed the advice from the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research most closely cut their chances of dying from several diseases by at least 34 percent.

Contributions made by poor health decisions were examined by how closely people complied with the seven key recommendations to reduce cancer risk.

These recommendations are to maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, and cut down on foods and drinks that help increase weight, eat more plant foods, and reduce consumption of meat and alcoholic drinks and in the case of nursing mothers, breastfeed for at least six months.

"This large European study is the first that shows there is a strong association between following the WCRF/AICR recommendations and a reduced risk of dying from cancer, circulatory diseases and respiratory diseases. Now further research is needed in other large populations to confirm these findings," study leader Dr. Teresa Norat, of Imperial College London said.

Those who most closely followed the recommendations cut their chances of dying from respiratory disease by 50 percent, circulatory disease by 44 percent and cancer by 20 percent.

The recommendations with the greatest impact on reducing the risk of death from disease were being as lean as possible without becoming underweight, at 22 percent lower risk, and eating mostly plant foods at 21 percent.

Limiting alcohol consumption and following the plant food recommendation reduced the risk of dying from cancer by the greatest margin, 21 percent and 17 percent respectively.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is the first to examine breastfeeding as part of a combination of lifestyle changes to see what effect it has on risk of dying.

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