The Benefits of breastfeeding for the baby (and for the mother) there are many, since it can protect the little one from allergies, asthma, colitis and some types of cancers, but that's not all. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of having obese children, something that is becoming the pandemic of the 21st century and that causes multiple diseases in the person who suffers from it.
Scientific research has analyzed various risk factors for childhood obesity such as high birth weight, premature births or breastfeeding with formula, among others, observing, more and more, the Benefits of breastfeeding To counteract these possibilities, it was even considered that prolonged breastfeeding can reduce the risks of overweight and obesity in children by up to 25%.
There are several reasons that can explain this protective factor of breast milk, oriented to its composition and metabolic and physiological responses in the body.
1. On the one hand, the presence of leptin in breast milk, which facilitates the regulation of appetite and the fat content consumed by babies who drink on demand, as opposed to formula-fed babies, who receive the same content of fat throughout the intake and this tends to be greater than they need, altering the natural mechanisms of hunger-satiety.
2. Likewise, the lower intake of fat and protein, through breast milk, keeps the increase in adipocytes and insulin levels in the blood regulated, avoiding the storage of lipids.
3. Another reason, referring to the metabolism and body composition of babies, is that those fed exclusively breastfeeding gain less weight during their first year of life, which is also related to lower rates of obesity, even in adulthood .
4. Similarly, it is thought that breast milk may contribute to the development of taste receptors in babies aimed at consuming lower energy content throughout their lives.
In recent years, great advances have been made in this area, as a result of studies linking the intestinal microbiota to diet. These results show the importance of balance in this ecosystem, constituted by the microorganisms that are present in the intestine, since their imbalance alters the immune system, contributing to the development of gastrointestinal diseases (inflammation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome) and systemic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, among others.
Breast milk has a relevant participation in the conformation of this microbiota, since it is in the neonatal period when the intestinal microbiota begins to colonize, finding that one of its main functions is the modulation of fat metabolism.
During the first two weeks of life, breastfeeding favors the implantation of up to 85% of Bifidobacteria, and from the end of the second week until the beginning of ablactation, this colonization reaches 95%. These bacteria have immunological, anti-inflammatory and inhibitory properties for the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, breast milk is an important source of prebiotics and probiotics (bacteria with beneficial effects for the body), and it is considered that some of these strains regulate body weight, given their participation in metabolic, neuroendocrine and immunological functions.
The reasons given are just some of the clear evidences of the importance of breast milk as a protective factor against childhood obesity. Science advances every day and, surely, we will find many more reasons to recommend exclusively feeding the little ones with this wonderful 'white gold'.
The figures for the number of infants and young children, between 0 and 5 years old, who suffer from it are truly alarming. childhood overweight or obesity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this figure went from 32 million in 1990 to 41 million in 2016 and, if the trend continues, it could reach 70 million in 2025, to the point that this organization considers obesity as the 'epidemic of the 21st century'.
If this situation is not addressed, these children could even continue to be obese in their childhood and adolescence, increasing their risks of suffering from diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, musculoskeletal deficiencies and some types of cancer at a very early age, in addition to suffering negative psychological impacts on their interrelation with the environment (bullying) in these delicate stages of life. Let's put the brakes on since they are babies!
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