May 30, 2024

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New Study Links Extended Breastfeeding to Improved Acquired Academic Performance

New Study Links Extended Breastfeeding to Improved Acquired Academic Performance



 

New Study Links Extended Breastfeeding to Improved Acquired Academic Performance. 

 

A new study suggests a potential link between prolonged breastfeeding and modest improvements in academic performance during adolescence.

Children who were breastfed longer appeared to slightly outperform non-breastfed children in the school General Secondary Education Examination (GSCE) at age 16, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

 

Even after controlling for variables such as socioeconomic status and parental intelligence, this trend toward improved academic achievement remained evident.

 

 

New Study Links Extended Breastfeeding to Improved Acquired Academic Performance

 

 

Previous research has shown that children who are breastfed for longer periods of time have better academic performance later in life.

But these studies were relatively few, and most did not take into account potential factors that could influence the results, such as mothers with higher socioeconomic status or higher intelligence scores were more likely to breastfeed longer and their children were more likely to do well on tests.

 

So a team at the University of Oxford set out to analyze data from a large group of British children included in the Millennium Cohort Study, 18,818 British children born in 2000-2002 who were followed at ages 3, 5, 7, 11, 14, 17 and 22. The data is linked to the National Pupil Dataset, which stores longitudinal academic data on pupils in UK state schools.

 

In the new study, researchers analyzed a nationally representative sample of 4,940 participants in the UK under the age of 16 and looked at their secondary education results (set by the UK Department of Education), specifically their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination results in English and mathematics. In addition, the ‘Attainment 8 score’, which is the sum of all GCSE exams taken by the children, was also analysed.

 

About one-third (32.8%) of the participants had never breastfed, and the rest had breastfed at various times. Only 9.5% were breastfed for at least 12 months.

 

The results of the analysis showed that the longer the duration of breastfeeding, the better the educational effect.

 

Only about one in five (19.2%) of children who were breastfed for at least 12 months failed GCSE English, compared with 41.7% of children who were never breastfed; 28.5% of children who were breastfed for at least 12 months achieved high marks (A and A*), compared with 9.6% of children who were not breastfed.

 

In mathematics GCSE, only 23.7% of children who were breastfed for at least 12 months did not pass, compared with 41.9% of children who were never breastfed; 31.4% of children who were breastfed for at least 12 months achieved high marks (A and A*), compared with 11% of children who were not breastfed.

 

After accounting for confounders, the overall association results showed that children who were breastfed for at least 12 months were 39 percent more likely to score high on both exams and 25 percent less likely to fail an English test than children who had never been breastfed.

 

Also, children who were breastfed for longer had better overall GCSE results (higher Attainment 8 scores) than children who were never breastfed.

 

The study has some limitations, as approximately 4000 children lost or did not consent to follow-up, so could not be linked to the national student dataset, and an additional 1292 children were not followed up to age 14, when mothers’ cognitive abilities were being measured.

 

In addition, other factors that might affect this association were not considered.

 

Nonetheless, the authors say their findings are nationally representative of children enrolled in state schools in England, and the large sample size allowed them to detect differences in outcomes between several breastfeeding duration groups.

 

They also accounted for the confounding effects of socioeconomic status and some markers of maternal intelligence at the family and regional levels.

 

They concluded that “after controlling for important confounding factors, breastfeeding duration was associated with improved educational outcomes for children in England at age 16

However, the effect size was small and may be influenced by residual confounding factors. Breastfeeding should continue to be encouraged where possible, as improved academic performance is only one of the potential benefits of breastfeeding. Future studies should (fully) adjust for socioeconomic environment and maternal general intelligence”.

 

 

New Study Links Extended Breastfeeding to Improved Acquired Academic Performance. 

(source:internet, reference only)


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