Linked to Blood Pressure
Babies fed a dairy-based formula grew up to have higher blood
pressure than babies who were breast-fed, British researchers
Their study, published in the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, supports several others that show
substituting cow's milk for breast milk might promote heart disease
later in life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics
says mothers should breast-feed babies for at least a year and
longer if possible, while the World Health Organization says two
years should be the minimum.
Babies who get breast milk are
healthier, less likely to become obese and may have better brain
function, studies have shown. Infant formula manufacturers have
taken note and regularly adjust their formulas to more closely
resemble human milk.
But in the 1970s, formulas were
based on dried cow's milk, and breastfeeding was out of fashion
in countries such as the United States and Britain. Richard Martin
of the University of Bristol and colleagues followed up on babies
first studied between 1972 and 1974.
Now in their 20s, those who were
fed the most cow's-milk formula were taller but had the highest
blood pressure, Martin's team found. High blood pressure can lead
to heart disease and stroke.
It could be that the high sodium
content of cow's milk affects the development of young babies,
the researchers said. It might also be that cow's milk is higher
in fat and calories overall, and overfed babies -- especially
those who gain weight too rapidly early in life -- are prone to
obesity and heart disease later in life.
More-subtle factors could also
be at work, they said.
"Mothers in the United Kingdom
who breastfeed are likely to be better educated and to encourage
healthier eating habits for their children than are mothers who
do not breastfeed," the researchers write in the report.
Fortified cow's milk is an important
source of calcium and vitamin D -- key to preventing rickets and
osteoporosis -- but a second study in the same journal suggests
that, at least for adults, orange juice could substitute.
Dr. Michael Holick and colleagues
at Boston University School of Medicine found that adults who
drank orange juice fortified with vitamin D absorbed it just as
well as from milk.
Orange juice is already available
fortified with calcium.
Reference Source 89