Breastfeeding Steadily Gains Traction Against Obesity

The introduction to an online interview with Dr. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello says,

Imagine if there were an organ in your body that weighed as much as your brain, that affected your health, your weight, and even your behavior… There is such an organ — the collection of microbes in and on your body, your human microbiome.

Dr. Dominguez-Bello is known as the expert on both the effects of C-section births on a child’s development and on how breastfeeding affects the baby’s microbiome. It’s known to affect many physiological processes “ranging from adiposity/obesity, to energy metabolism, blood pressure control, glucose homeostasis, clotting risks or even behavior.” A 2019 paper by this researcher and three others, with 111 listed sources, is peppered with interesting statements like these:

Infants develop during the first 6 months under the selective pressure of milk shaping the gut microbial communities…

[E]vidence suggests that longer duration of breastfeeding is associated with decrease in risk of overweight.

Obesity risk has been epidemiologically associated with C-section birthing and early antibiotic exposure.

Our previous post discussed how C-section births are often associated with the decision not to breastfeed, so this all ties in together. Other studies indicate that breastfeeding for the first five months is “associated with an approximately 25 per cent lower likelihood of being overweight or obese in childhood.” This is only one reason why various experts have described breastmilk as irreplaceable, perfectly customized food, the gold standard, nature’s superfood, and the ultimate in personalized medicine.

While serving as executive director and chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Dr. Chris Urbina announced that the state is the foremost in breastfeeding, saying, “Breastfeeding is one of our best protections against childhood obesity.”

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist indicated that “gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity,” adding that…

[…] a series of studies over the past decade has confirmed that the microbes living in our gut are not only associated with obesity but also are one of the causes… In addition, having a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome and obesity in both mothers and their children hopefully will help scientists design more successful preventive and therapeutic strategies to check the rise of obesity in children.

Adrain Corbett, the founder of GutGeek.com, wrote:

Baby’s new microbiome is topped up several times a day through breastfeeding… Again this prevents the wrong bacteria getting established and taking over.

Studies show that babies born via C-section start off with random bacteria from the hospital, rather than the special ones from Mum. “Swabbing” baby with microbes taken manually from Mum may help to counter this!

In 2020, Dr. Jorge Chavarro wrote,

The results of our study highlight the need to be even more vigilant about decreasing the overall rate of cesarean deliveries, especially in the absence of a clear obstetric or medical indication, as adverse health effects on the offspring could even manifest decades later.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Web interview: Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello,” undated
Source: “Role of the microbiome in human development,” BMJ.com, 2019
Source: “Large babies born to moms with gestational diabetes face nearly triple the risk of childhood obesity: study,” Folio.ca, 12/11/18
Source: “Colorado ranks No. 1 in breastfeeding,” LamarLedger.com 08/05/12
Source: “Gut bacteria is key factor in childhood obesity,” ScienceDaily.com, 10/30/19
Source: “Kickstart Your Kids’ Gut Health,” GutGeek.com, 07/05/21
Source: “Do C-Section Babies Become Heavier Adults?,” UCLAHealth.org, 04/14/20
Image by Maja/CC BY-ND 2.0

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:

Presentations

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources