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Super cocktail breast milk also protects against being overweight during child-hood

17/2003, 04.07.2003

The National Committee for the Promotion of Breastfeeding highlights advantages of breastfeeding at the congress "Children and Nutrition"

One in five children in Germany are fat but the blame cannot be laid solely at the door of chips, sweets and a lack of physical exercise. Some preconditions for being overweight are already created in the womb, others during infancy. Overweight mothers are more prone to having fat children; smoking during pregnancy and social status also encourage this phenomenon during childhood. By contrast, infants who are exclusively breast-fed are apparently less likely to become overweight. This is confirmed by several studies, the results of which have been adjusted to allow for other possible causes. The National Breastfeeding Committee within BfR will draw attention to the "super cocktail breast milk" at the congress "Children and Nutrition" next Tuesday. The congress is organised by the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture; the German Society for Nutrition is responsible for the scientific side.

Subjects like the extent to which genes influence the later weight of a child, the role played by other factors and the mechanisms responsible for the effects will be the subject of controversial debate. Various theories have been advanced to explain the benefits of breast milk. One theory claims that the breastfed infant drinks until he is full whereas the aim is more or less for the bottle to be emptied. The bottle baby is, therefore, largely brought up to eat more than he needs in order to feel full whereas the breastfed baby determines his energy intake himself. Other theories point to the favourable effect of active substances in breast milk that may influence the growth and differentiation of fat cells. Finally, different compositions of breast milk and milk substitutes may trigger differing hormonal reactions in the breastfed child and "put their stamp on" his metabolism in a lasting manner.

Fat children don't have it easy. They are teased, physical education is a torture and the new pair of trousers does not sit comfortably on the hips but digs into the stomach. Besides the psychosocial components, overweight children are also at greater risk of developing nutrition-related diseases. Mothers should, therefore, consciously contribute to their children not ranking later amongst the "fatties". The super cocktail breast milk is a simple and cheap but, at the same time, effective way of doing just this. Besides protecting against becoming overweight, it offers many other benefits in childhood.

The congress "Children and Nutrition" will be staged in the Katholische Akademie, Hannoversche Straße 5, in 10115 Berlin on 8 July 2003. It begins at 10 am. We cordially invite you to a "cocktail hour" at the stand of the National Breastfeeding Committee.

Further information on the subject of breastfeeding can be accessed on the BfR homepage (www.bfr.bund.de) under "The Institute" (Advisory Committees and Expert groups/National Breastfeeding Committee).

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