Infant feeding impacts gut bacteria and later risk of overweight

Our study of more than 1,000 Canadian mothers and infants has shown that exclusive breastfeeding in the first three months of life provides more protection against an infant becoming overweight at one year of age than either partial breastfeeding or formula feeding.

The research, published today in JAMA Pediatrics, found a 63 per cent increased risk of becoming overweight among infants who were partially versus exclusively breastfed at three months of age, and a 102 per cent increased risk among exclusively formula-fed infants.

According to the researchers, this association is partially explained by the influence breastfeeding has on an infant’s gut microbiome—the community of microorganisms or bacteria that live in the human digestive tract.

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