Study links breastfeeding to high grades, college entry

source : Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – Breastfed babies seem more likely to do well at
high school and to go on to attend college than infants raised on a bottle,
according to a new U.S. study.

Professors Joseph Sabia from the American University and Daniel Rees from
the University of Colorado Denver based their research on 126 children from
59 families, comparing siblings who were breastfed as infants to others who
were not.

By comparing siblings, the study was able to account for the influence of a
variety of difficult-to-measure factors such as maternal intelligence and
the quality of the home environment.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Capital, found that an
additional month of breastfeeding was associated with an increase in high
school grade point averages of 0.019 points and an increase in the
probability of college attendance of 0.014.

“The results of our study suggest that the cognitive and health benefits of
breastfeeding may lead to important long-run educational benefits for
children,” Sabia, a professor of public policy who focuses on health
economics, said in a statement.

“But this is just a start. Much work remains to be done to establish a
definitive causal link.”

Sabia said the study, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of
Adolescent Health, was the first to use sibling data in order to examine the
effect of breastfeeding on high school completion and college attendance.

“By focusing on differences between siblings, we can rule out the
possibility that family-level factors such as socioeconomic status are
driving the relationship between having been breastfed and educational
attainment,” said Rees, an economics professor.

(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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