Originally published July 1 2009
Breastfeeding Babies Boosts Academic Achievements, GPA
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) Breastfeeding has long been known to be an important way mothers can help keep infants healthy. For example, according to the American College of Pediatrics, breastfeeding slashes the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) during the first year of life (http://www.naturalnews.com/026239_SIDS_breas...) and it also reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes, leukemia, lymphomas and asthma in older children.
Now there's another benefit to add to the list, this time for teens. A new study by American University (AU) professor Joseph Sabia and University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees concludes breastfeeding leads to better academic achievement in high school and an increased likelihood of attending college.
The research, just published in the Journal of Human Capital, used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to investigate the academic achievement of siblings, one of whom was breastfed as a baby and one of whom was bottle-fed with formula. In all, Dr. Sabia and Dr. Rees studied the breastfeeding histories and high school grades of 126 siblings from 59 families. They also assessed information on high school completion and college attendance data obtained from 191 siblings belonging to 90 families.
This is the first research to use data about brothers and sisters in order to study the effect of breastfeeding on high school completion and college. What's more, because the scientists were comparing the academic achievements of youngsters in the same family, the study was able to account for the influence of usually very difficult-to-measure influences, such as maternal intelligence and the quality of the home environment.
"By focusing on differences between siblings, we can rule out the possibility that family level factors such as socioeconomic status are driving the relationship between having been breastfed and educational attainment," Dr. Rees, an economics professor at the University of Colorado, explained in a statement to the media.
The researchers found that an additional month of breastfeeding was associated with an increase in high school grade point average (GPA). There was also a significant increase in the probability that a breastfed child would attend college. "The results of our study suggest that the cognitive and health benefits of breastfeeding may lead to important long-run educational benefits for children," said Dr. Sabia, a professor of public policy in AU's School of Public Affairs, in the media statement.
As Natural News reported earlier (http://www.naturalnews.com/024474_breastfeed...), previous research from McGill University in Canada published in the Archives of General Psychiatry has also shown that breastfeeding babies seems to make them smarter.
In fact, children fed breast milk exclusively for the first three months of life were found to score higher on IQ tests at the age of six than bottle fed children.
In other breaking news about breastfeeding, Spanish scientists studied 1460 children between the ages of three and seven to search for a relationship between breastfeeding and allergies, including skin and sinus allergies. The results of this study, just published in the June issue of the Spanish medical journal Atencion Primaria, suggest that exclusively breastfeeding babies for three months or longer can help prevent the development of allergies.
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