In a long-term national study, breastfeeding for six months or longer was found to cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes nearly in half for women throughout their childbearing years, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published online on January 16, 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine. The open-access article is titled “Lactation Duration and Progression to Diabetes in Women Across the Childbearing Years: The 30-Year CARDIA Study.” "We found a very strong association between breastfeeding duration and lower risk of developing diabetes, even after accounting for all possible confounding risk factors," said lead author Erica P. Gunderson, PhD, MS, MPH, Senior Research Scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. Women who breastfed for six months or more across all births had a 47 percent reduction in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not breastfeed at all. Women who breastfed for six months or less had a 25 percent reduction in diabetes risk. Dr. Gunderson and colleagues analyzed data during the 30 years of follow-up from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a national, multi-center investigation of cardiovascular disease risk factors that originally enrolled approximately 5,000 adults aged 18 to 30 in 1985 to 1986, including more than 1,000 members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California. The new findings add to a growing body of evidence that breastfeeding has protective effects for both mothers and their offspring, including lowering a mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The CARDIA findings are also consistent with those of the NIH-funded Study of Women, Infant Feeding and Type 2 Diabetes after GDM Pregnancy (SWIFT), also led by Dr.
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