Breastfeeding in infancy and lipid profile in adolescence

L. L. Hui, Man Ki Kwok, Anthony A.S. Nelson, So Lun Lee, Gabriel M. Leung, C. Mary Schooling

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Breast milk has higher cholesterol than formula. Infants who are breastfed have different cholesterol synthesis and metabolism in infancy than infants who are formula fed. Little is known as to whether breastfeeding is associated with subsequent lipid profile, independent of adiposity. We assessed the association of breastfeeding in early infancy with lipid profile and adiposity at ∼17.5 years in a setting where exclusive breastfeeding is not associated with higher socioeconomic position. METHODS: We used multivariable linear regression with multiple imputation and inverse probability weighting to examine the associations of contemporaneously reported feeding in the first 3 months of life (exclusive breastfeeding [7.5%], mixed feeding [40%], or always formula feeding [52%]) with lipids and adiposity at ∼17.5 years in 3261 participants in the Hong Kong Chinese birth cohort Children of 1997, adjusting for sex, birth weight, gestational weeks, parity, pregnancy characteristics, parents’ highest education, mother’s place of birth, and age at follow-up. RESULTS: Exclusive breastfeeding, but not mixed feeding at 0 to 3 months, compared with formula feeding was associated with lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol but not with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol at ∼17.5 years. BMI and fat percentage measured by bioimpedance did not differ by type of infant feeding. CONCLUSIONS: Exclusive breastfeeding in early infancy may promote a healthier lipid profile in late adolescence through mechanisms unrelated to adiposity, implicating its potential long-term benefits for cardiovascular health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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