Researchers led by Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz at the University of Pittsburgh have determined that women who breastfeed their babies are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as women who do not.
Scientists aren’t clear why the rates of diabetes are lower, but they speculate the reason lies with the fact that breastfeeding moms lose post-pregnancy weight more easily and most of that fat is abdominal fat, the worst kind for our health.
Animals have revealed more information about breastfeeding moms. They have greater response to insulin, allowing breastfeeding moms to more effectively break down glucose, keeping sugar metabolism healthy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that new mothers breastfeed their infants for at least six months, yet only 14% of women do. The reasons are cultural as well as functional, with the majority of new moms working and no parental leave policies.
The 86% who don’t breastfeed their babies must utilize exercise and diet as key agents in returning to a healthy, post-pregnancy weight and body fat ratio.
Long-Lasting Health Benefits of Breastfeeding
In a 2009 study of 140,000 moms who hadn’t breastfeed for 35 years, Dr Schwarz determined that the group of women had 10% less heart disease and diabetes and 20% less high cholesterol. The group also had lower blood pressure.