Longer Breastfeeding Is Associated with Increased Lower Body Explosive Strength during Adolescence

Artero EG, Ortega FB, España-Romero V, Labayen I, Huybrechts I, Papadaki A, Rodriguez G, Mauro B, Widhalm K, Kersting M, Manios Y, Molnar D, Moreno LA, Sjöström M, Gottrand F, Castillo MJ, De Henauw S; HELENA Study Group.
J Nutr. 2010 Nov;140(11):1989-95.


Our aim in this study was to examine the association between breastfeeding duration and cardiorespiratory fitness, isometric strength, and explosive strength during adolescence. A total of 2567 adolescents (1426 girls) from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) cross-sectional study aged 12.5-17.5 y were included.

Information about duration of any and exclusive breastfeeding was obtained retrospectively by means of a parental questionnaire. The 20-m shuttle run, handgrip strength, and standing long jump tests were used to assess physical fitness. Significant differences among the categories of breastfeeding duration were tested using ANCOVA after adjusting for a set of potential confounders: gestational and current age, birth weight, sexual maturation, fat mass, fat-free mass, maternal education, parental weight status, country, smoking behavior, and days of vigorous physical activity. Longer breastfeeding (either any or exclusive) was associated with a higher performance in the standing long jump test in both boys and girls (P < 0.001), regardless of fat mass, fat-free mass, and the rest of potential confounders. In adolescents who were breastfed for 3-5 mo or ≥6 mo, the risk of having a standing long jump performance below the 5th percentile was reduced by half compared with those who were never breastfed [odds ratio (OR) = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.30-0.96, P < 0.05; and OR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.22-0.74, P < 0.01, respectively). These findings suggest a role of breastfeeding in determining lower body explosive strength during adolescence.


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