A new study shows that women who spend a longer time breastfeeding during their lifetimes may be able to lower their risk of metabolic syndrome and related disorders included elevated blood pressure, glucose, and triglyceride levels. Life-long breastfeeding of 12 months or longer was associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, as reported in Journal of Women's Health.

The article entitled "Association Between Duration of Breast Feeding and Metabolic Syndrome: The Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys" describes a study of more than 4,700 Korean women aged 19-50 years in which the risk of developing metabolic syndrome or its component disorders was assessed based on life-long duration of breastfeeding, divided into four groups: < 5 months, 6-11 months, 12-23 months, or > 24 months. Coauthors Se Rin Choi, Yong Min Kim, Min Su Cho, So Hyun Kim, and Young Suk Shim, Hallym University, College of Medicine (Seoul, Korea), report the duration of breastfeeding found to be associated with decreased risk of individual components of metabolic syndrome, such as blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol.

"The advantageous effects of breastfeeding for newborns and babies are well established, and this study, which suggests that breastfeeding may protect the mother against metabolic syndrome, further adds to the evidence base supporting the benefits of breastfeeding for maternal health," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.