Breastfeeding reduces mothers’ cardiovascular disease risk, AHA study finds 

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Women who breastfeed are less likely to develop heart disease or a stroke, or die from cardiovascular disease than women who do not breastfeed, according to a study published Jan. 11 in the Journal of the American Heart Association

Researchers reviewed health records from nearly 1.2 million women across eight studies conducted between 1986 and 2009 in Australia, China, Norway, Japan and the U.S. and one multinational study to analyze the relationship between breastfeeding and the mother’s individual cardiovascular risk.

Key findings: 

  • Compared to women who never breastfed, women who reported breastfeeding had a 11 percent decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

  • Over an average follow-up period of 10 years, women who breastfed at some point were 14 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease; 12 percent less likely to suffer strokes; and 17 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

  • Women who breastfed for 12 months or longer appeared to be less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than women who did not breastfeed.

  • There were no notable differences in cardiovascular disease risk among women of different ages or according to the number of pregnancies.

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