A new study appears to have found yet another amazing benefit of breastfeeding – it improves the physical condition of future adolescents.
It showed that adolescents who are breast fed at birth have stronger leg muscles than those who received artificial milk. Moreover, muscular leg strength was greater in those who had been breastfed for a longer period of time.
Enrique Garcia Artero, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Granada, wanted to find out whether adolescents benefited from having been breastfed as newborns.
His team especially wanted to know whether there was a relationship between the duration of breastfeeding babies and their physical condition in adolescence.
The researchers interviewed the parents of 2,567 adolescents about the type of feeding their children received at birth and the time this lasted.
They also tested the adolescents to evaluate several abilities such as aerobic capacities and their muscular strength.
They found that the kids who had been breastfed as infants had stronger legs than the kids who were not. Also, those who had breastfed longer had greater muscle strength than those who weaned earlier.
Even those who were nursed well performed better at horizontal jumping tasks, regardless of fat mass, muscle mass or height. Those who had been breastfeed at least three months failed half as much in the jumping tests as those who had not been breastfed at all.
“Until now, no studies have examined the association between breastfeeding and future muscular aptitude,” said Artero.
“However, our results concur with the observations made as regards other neonatal factors, such as weight at birth, are positively related to better muscular condition during adolescence,” he added.
The study is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Nutrition.