(NaturalNews) The phrase "you are what you eat" really is true, according to a new study published in the online journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers have determined that baby boys who are breastfed during the first six months of their lives--who also gain the most weight during this crucial developmental period--grow up to be stronger and more masculine than men who are undernourished.
According to Christopher Kuzawa, a biological anthropologist at Northwestern University and author of the study, the first six months of a boy's life is "when testosterone is at roughly adult levels". This means that getting proper nutrition during this time is absolutely crucial if boys are to develop into healthy maturity.
"Men who as babies gained weight rapidly during the period of this testosterone surge matured earlier, were taller, had more muscle, were stronger and had higher testosterone levels," explained Kuzawa. "The slow growers are undernourished and nutrition-stressed."
The team tracked 770 Filipino men from birth into their early twenties, observing the development of their masculine characteristics in relation to how they were fed as babies. Upon analysis, the researchers determined that the quality of nutrition boys receive during their testosterone surge dictates the growth of organs, bones and overall stature.
"The things that define males are flexible characteristics in response to nutrition," Kuzawa stressed. "Your fate is not hardwired."
Many hope the study will serve as a wake-up call to those who fail to recognize the vital connection between quality nutrition and good health, especially during the early years of childhood development.
Kuzawa and his team are currently conducting a follow-up study on females to see if the same findings hold true for both sexes.