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Faster growing babies are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke

May 03, 2017

???Using the latter approach we assigned babies to different diets and then followed them into adult life. Such studies had not been done before and have taken us over 20 years.

???Now that the results have come through they have greatly changed our understanding of the importance of early nutrition and growth for long-term health.

???The evidence is very strong and supports a clear message. Slower growth as a baby reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in adult life and the best way to achieve this is to breastfeed.???

A recent survey of 1000 women by the Department of Health found that although many of the benefits of breastfeeding are well known, the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. Almost one third (29 per cent) of women in England and Wales never try to breastfeed, compared to two per cent in Sweden. Younger mothers in particular are less likely to breastfeed. Over 40 per cent of mothers under 24 never try.

Publication coincides with National Breastfeeding Awareness week (9-15 May)

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Alan Lucas or Dr Atul Singhal, contact the MRC Press Office on 020 7637 6011.

For copies of the viewpoint article and the accompanying research paper please contact the Lancet press office on 020 7424 4949