Breastfeeding for 30 days or more is a protective factor against overweight in preschool children

Haroldo da Silva Ferreira, Evla Darc Ferro Vieira, Cyro Rego Cabral Junior, Marina Dhandara Rodrigues de Queiroz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Assessing the effects of breastfeeding on the occurrence of anthropometric deviations among preschool children of the semiarid region of Alagoas (Brazil) and possible associated factors. Methods. In a probabilistic sample of 716 1-5 year-old children, anthropometric, socioeconomic, demographic and health data were collected. The dependent variables were stunting (height-for-age < -2 SD) and overweight (weight-for-height > 2 SD) relative to the WHO-2006 standard. Children were categorized into breastfed (breastfeeding ≥ 30 days) and not breastfed (breastfeeding <30 days). Data were submitted to bivariate (c2) and multivariate (logistic regression) analyses. Results. Prevalence of stunting and overweight were 11.5% and 6.3% respectively. Although 87.3% belonged to the lower economic classes (D and E), 44.3% of mothers had a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2. Among the 716 children studied, 489 (68.3%) were breastfed, 65 (9.0%) were not breastfed and 162 (22.7%) were still breastfeeding. Among those of the breastfed group, 213 (43.5%) received breast milk for more than 12 months. In bivariate analysis the prevalence of overweight was higher among the not breastfed group (12.7% vs. 6%; CI95% = 1 to 5.5). Factors independently associated with stunting were lower birth weight, living in rural areas and mother not living with a partner. Overweight was associated with no breastfeeding, maternal smoking during pregnancy and birth weight ≥ 4.0 kg. conclusion. Breastfeeding for a minimum period of 30 days had a protective effect against overweight in preschool children of the semiarid region of Alagoas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-80
Number of pages7
JournalRevista da Associacao Medica Brasileira
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropometry
  • Breastfeeding
  • Growth and development
  • Mother-child health (public health)
  • Overweight


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