Is breast-feeding in infancy associated with adult longevity?
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the study was to determine whether breast-feeding is associated with increased longevity or cause-specific survival. METHODS: Teachers throughout California identified intellectually gifted children as part of a prospective study begun in the 1920s by Lewis Terman. Information on breast-feeding was available on 1170 subjects, who have been followed for more than 65 years. RESULTS: Survival analysis (Cox proportional hazards model) indicated that breast-feeding was associated with increased longevity, even after adjustment for age at baseline, birthweight, infant health, and childhood socioeconomic status, but only among men, and the association was not significant (P = .15). Neither cardiovascular disease nor cancer survival was significantly associated with duration of breast-feeding for either sex. Survival from deaths due to injuries was positively associated with breast-feeding after adjustment (P = .03) and demonstrated a clear gradient with duration, but only among men. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the present study does not provide strong evidence that breast-feeding is associated with adult longevity. The reduced risk of death from injury may reflect chance, in that the association was significant only for men, or it may reflect psychosocial correlates of breast-feeding practices.
Wingard, DL; Criqui, MH; Edelstein, SL; Tucker, J; Tomlinson-Keasey, C; Schwartz, JE; Friedman, HS
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