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Longer lactation duration cuts NAFLD risk in moms

10 Nov 2018

A longer duration of lactation appears to lower the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a recent US study.

The study included 844 mothers (median age at baseline 25 years) who gave birth from 1985–1986 and who underwent computed tomography quantification of hepatic steatosis 25 years after. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between NAFLD diagnosis and lactation duration.

Based on self-reported information, participants were categorized into three according to the duration of lactation: 0–1 month (n=276), >1–6 months (n=209) and >6 months (n=359). On the other hand, 54 women were positive for NAFLD at follow-up.

NAFLD rates dropped with increasing lactation duration. In mothers who breastfed for 0–1 month, the corresponding disease prevalence was 8.3 percent, which decreased to 7.7 percent and 4.2 percent for those with >1–6 months and >6 months of lactation, respectively.

Moreover, those who breastfed for >6 months were significantly less likely to developed NAFLD than those with lactation duration of 0–1 month (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.46; 95 percent CI, 0.22–0.97; p=0.04). A significant downward linear trend was observed across all duration categories (p=0.04), but no such protective effect was seen in women who breastfed for >1–6 months (adjusted OR, 0.84; 0.42–1.70; p=0.64).

Any breastfeeding was likewise unrelated to a lower risk of NAFLD, further providing support that there is a threshold effect of lactation durations >6 months.

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