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More breastfeeding benefits revealed

As World Breastfeeding Week ends, experts have continued to highlight the positives to be gained from breastfeeding.
More benefits to breastfeeding have been stressed by experts as World Breastfeeding Week draws to a close.

One study has shown that people who were breastfed as babies have lower cholesterol levels in adulthood - good news, as high cholesterol is linked to heart disease.

The research was carried out on more than 17,000 people by experts from St George's, University of London and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"The paper concludes that initial breastfeeding, particularly when exclusive, is associated with lower blood cholesterol concentrations in later life, compared to initial feeding," said the study's leader Dr Chris Owen.

"This study provides further evidence that breastfeeding has long-term health benefits."

In the USA, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has highlighted another bonus - cancer protection for both baby and mother.

AICR says it is the first cancer organisation to officially recommend breastfeeding as a way of avoiding cancer, and bases its claim on a report which says women should breastfeed exclusively for up to six months then add other foods and liquids as appropriate.

The study showed that hormonal changes in a mother's body and changes in breast tissue are responsible for the added protection seen in mothers, while babies gain from the chemical composition of breast milk.

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