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Nice Legs! Thanks, I Was Breast-Fed

breast milk, breastfeed

Today's nurser, tomorrow's future Olympic weight-lifter?

A new study appears to have found yet another marvelous benefit of breastfeeding: a great set of gams.

(For the future teen, not the nursing mom, alas.)

Among the kids in the study, who were between 12 and 17 years old, those who nursed as newborns until at least three months had more lower-body strength than their formula-fed or early-weaned counterparts.

Unlike another recently published study that concluded breastfeeding benefits boys but not really girls, this one concludes breast is best for feminine legs, too.

Enrique Garcia Artero, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Granada, wanted to find out whether adolescents benefited from having been breastfed as newborns. Artero’s team especially wanted to know whether there was a connection between the duration breastfeeding and strength as long-since weaned adolescents.

Researchers interviewed the parents of 2,567 adolescents about what the kids were fed as newborns and when the breastfed babies were weaned. They also tested the kids in areas of physical strength and aerobic capacities.

The kids who had been breastfed as infants had stronger legs than the kids who were formula-fed. Also, those who had breastfed longer had greater muscle strength than those who weaned earlier.

The results of the study are in the latest issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

Even those who were nursed as well as given formula performed better at horizontal jumping tasks, regardless of fat mass, muscle mass or height. Those who had been breastfeed at least three months failed half as much in the jumping tests as those who had not been breastfed at all.

The study used the strength and physical performance data from a Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence cross-sectional study and adjusted for factors like parental smoking, country, age of maturation, and others.

Interesting and curious. A quick look at the outcome, though, shows that the majority of kids performed well in the strength tests regardless of how they were fed as infants. But it’s among the weakest — performance in the lowest 5th percentile – where breastfeeding appeared to be an advantage.

I’ve always had crazy strong legs, which I didn’t always appreciate (teen years, you know the drill). I was also 100-percent bottle fed as a baby. My former teen self says: thank goodness!

Does this study make you worried for your future teen with weak legs?

Photo: StFrancis.org

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