Friday, May 16, 2008

Another study shows breastfeeding and IQ link

Image by flikr

A study published this month in the Archives of General Psychiatry once again shows the link between breastfeeding and higher IQ.

Hailed as the largest ever randomized trial conducted on lactation, the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT) Study found that exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding were associated with higher IQ and teachers' ratings in children 6.5 years old. The study was conducted among 17,046 healthy breast-feeding infants in 31 Belarussian maternity hospitals and their affiliated polyclinics.

The experimental group was subjected to a breastfeeding promotion programme modeled on the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative of WHO and UNICEF, while the control group was subjected to usual hospital/clinic practices. Those in the experimental group were nearly seven times more likely than the control group to still be exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months (43.3% for the experimental group vs. 6.4% for the control group), and were more likety to be breastfeeding at any age up to 12 months.

When followed up 6.5 years later, the experimental group had higher "means on all of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence measures for verbal IQ, performance IQ, and full-scale IQ. Teachers' academic ratings were significantly higher in the experimental group for both reading and writing.

The authors concluded that, "These results ... provide strong evidence that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding improves children's cognitive development."

Click here to read the abstract of the study.

For more on the superiority of breastfeeding vs. formula feeding:

Long-term effects of breastfeeding
A neonatologist tells why to breastfeed
Breastfeed/be breastfed to prevent cancer

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