Study finds, Duration of Breastfeeding Mediates the Associat
The current study aimed to prospectively examine associations between early-life family socioeconomic risk and both child BMI and vocabulary at age 4 in a Norwegian cohort and the potential mediating contribution of breastfeeding duration. Early-life socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with both obesity and lower cognitive abilities in childhood. One theorized underlying mechanism is breastfeeding duration because breast milk contains nutrients that can promote healthy adiposity profiles and stimulate brain development.

The Behavior Outlook Norwegian Developmental Study (BONDS) followed 1159 families and their children from 6 months of age onward. Parents reported on SES and breastfeeding duration in infancy, and child BMI and vocabulary ability were assessed at age 4. Direct and indirect effects were estimated using a path model that adjusted for several demographic and perinatal covariates (e.g., parental nativity and birthweight).

--Family socioeconomic risk was significantly and negatively related to child vocabulary but was unrelated to child BMI.

--In addition, breastfeeding duration mediated the association between family socioeconomic risk and child vocabulary, with greater family socioeconomic risk associated with a shorter breastfeeding duration, which, in turn, predicted poorer child vocabulary.

The current findings suggests that longer breastfeeding duration is a viable target for preventatively promoting child vocabulary, especially among families at socioeconomic risk.