Breast-fed babies are more likely to have high-octane social ambition than those who are bottle-fed, a research published in UK suggested Wednesday.

The conclusion is based on a long-term research focused on 1,414 people now aged in their 60s and 70s as part of the Boyd Orr Study of Diet and Health in Pre-War Britain (1937-1939).

The research led by Richard Martin of the University of Bristol traced them to determine whether their subsequent status was linked to their nutritional start in life.

The prevalence of breastfeeding varied from 45 percent to 85 percent but was not dependent on household income, expenditure on food, number of siblings, birth order or social class in childhood.

"We found that ever having been breast fed was positively associated with increased odds of upward social mobility in this cohort when there was little social patterning in infancy of breast feeding," wrote Richard Martin.

The study found those who had been breast-fed as babies were 41 percent more likely to move up the social ladder as adults than those who had been bottle-fed.

The longer a child was breast-fed, the greater their chance of moving up at least one level of social class.

One possible reason for the findings could be that breastfeeding improves health, stature and IQ, and so breast-fed babies are better equipped to climb the social ladder, the study said.

It added that other, as yet unknown factors associated with breastfeeding may explain the findings and called for more research into the area.

In Britain 76 percent of women start breastfeeding, but only 28 percent persist until their children are four months old -- despite the Department of Health advising them to do so until they are six months.