Saturday, March 21, 2015

Breast milk can increase your income and your IQ even when you are an adult of 30.

Breastfeeding has benefits beyond childhood.
Credit:U.S Department of Agriculture on Flickr.
The benefits of breastfeeding for children health and development are not in dispute. It strengthens mother-child bonding, protects children against early childhood diseases and stimulates brain development. In a recent study, Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta of the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, has established that breastfeeding has benefits beyond childhood. It can persist even to adulthood.

He found that longer duration of breastfeeding is linked with increased intelligence in adulthood, longer schooling and higher adult earnings.

This study was conducted on nearly 6000 infants born in Pelotas for 30 years, starting from 1982. In the study, he discounted for well-known facts about breastfeeding such as the linkage between duration of breastfeeding and social class and income, effect of mother’s smoke on childhood development, and the effect of parents’ education on the child. In Pelotas, every mother breastfeeds her baby irrespective of social class, income or education.

The results of the study showed that infants breastfeed for at least a year had more significant adulthood gains than infants breastfed for less than a month, and that the longer the duration of breastfeeding, the greater the gains. Such gains included a full four IQ points, 0.9 more years of schooling and a higher income, of about 341 reais per month, when they get to the age of 30.

According to Dr. Horta, the likely mechanism at work are long-chain saturated fatty acids (DHA) found in breast milk which are essential for brain development.

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