HALO Scientist Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput and HALO Director Dr. Mark Tremblay are among the authors on a paper, “Breastfeeding and childhood obesity: A 12-country study,” that was recently published in Maternal & Child Nutrition. Citation details and a summary of the paper are below.

Ma J, Qiao Y, Zhao P, Li W, Katzmarzyk PT, Chaput JP, Fogelholm M, Kuriyan R, Lambert EV, Maher C, Maia J, Matsudo V, Olds T, Onywera V, Sarmiento OL, Standage M, Tremblay MS, Tudor-Locke C, Hu G; ISCOLE Research Group. Breastfeeding and childhood obesity: A 12-country study. Matern Child Nutr. 2020 Mar 5:e12984.


This study aimed to examine the association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity. A multinational cross-sectional study of 4,740 children aged 9-11 years was conducted from 12 countries. Infant breastfeeding was recalled by parents or legal guardians. Height, weight, waist circumference, and body fat were obtained using standardized methods. The overall prevalence of obesity, central obesity, and high body fat were 12.3%, 9.9%, and 8.1%, respectively. After adjustment for maternal age at delivery, body mass index (BMI), highest maternal education, history of gestational diabetes, gestational age, and child’s age, sex, birth weight, unhealthy diet pattern scores, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, sleeping, and sedentary time, exclusive breastfeeding was associated with lower odds of obesity (odds ratio [OR] 0.76, 95% confidence interval, CI [0.57, 1.00]) and high body fat (OR 0.60, 95% CI [0.43, 0.84]) compared with exclusive formula feeding. The multivariable-adjusted ORs based on different breastfeeding durations (none, 1-6, 6-12, and > 12 months) were 1.00, 0.74, 0.70, and 0.60 for obesity (Ptrend = .020) and 1.00, 0.64, 047, and 0.64 for high body fat (Ptrend = .012), respectively. These associations were no longer significant after adjustment for maternal BMI. Breastfeeding may be a protective factor for obesity and high body fat in 9- to 11-year-old children from 12 countries.