Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A study of more than 4,700 Korean women has found a link between longer duration of breastfeeding and a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a set of symptoms including elevated blood pressure, glucose and triglyceride levels that increase a person's risk of heart attack, diabetes or stroke.
Researchers found that breastfeeding for 12 months or longer over a woman's lifetime was associated with a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
The study evaluated Korean women ages 19 to 50 divided into four groups; breastfeeding for less than 5 months, 6 to 11 months, 12 to 23 months or more than 24 months.
Results showed that women who breastfed for 12 months or more had the lowest risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared to women who breastfed for less than 12 months.
"The advantageous effects of breastfeeding for newborns and babies are well established, and this study, which suggests that breastfeeding may protect the mother against metabolic syndrome, further adds to the evidence base supporting the benefits of breastfeeding for maternal health," Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Women's Health, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health and president of the Academy of Women's Health, said in a press release.
The study was published in the Journal of Women's Health.