Protective Effect of Breastfeeding Against Obesity in Childhood

Can a meta-analysis of observational studies help to validate the hypothesis?
  • Stephan Arenz
  • Rüdiger von Kries
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 569)


The relationship between breast-feeding and childhood obesity is of great interest.. Since 2000, sixteen studies have been published with conflicting data regarding the potential protective effect of breast-feeding on childhood obesity. A narrative review of Dewey in 2003 suggested a protective effect of breast-feeding, but an editorial in the British Medical Journal later that year cited two more recent studies without such an effect and stated there was inconclusive evidence A recent meta-analysis, however, has suggested a small, but significant, protective effect of breast-feeding. This paper summarises this meta-analysis and discusses the strengths and limitations of the meta-analysis approach.

Key words

breast-feeding overweight obesity childhood 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan Arenz
    • 1
  • Rüdiger von Kries
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Social Paediatrics and Adolescent MedicineLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany

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