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Birth Weight, Breastfeeding Linked to C-Reactive Protein

MONDAY, May 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Higher birth weight and having been breastfed for three or more months correlate with lower C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration in young adulthood, according to a study published online April 23 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Thomas W. McDade, Ph.D., from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues assessed birth weight and breastfeeding duration in infancy as predictors of CRP in young adulthood. Data were collected for 6,951 participants of a large representative cohort study.

The researchers observed a significant correlation for birth weight with CRP in young adulthood, with a negative association for birth weights 2.8 kg and higher. Among individuals breastfed for less than three months, three to six months, six to 12 months, and more than 12 months, CRP concentrations were 20.1, 26.7, 29.6, and 29.8 percent lower, respectively, versus individuals not breastfed. For birth weights above 2.5 kg, higher birth weight correlated with lower CRP, and breastfeeding for at least three months was significantly associated with lower CRP in sibling comparison models.

"Efforts to promote breastfeeding and improve birth outcomes may have clinically relevant effects on reducing chronic inflammation and lowering risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adulthood," the authors write.

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