Previous studies have found that the natural act of breastfeeding can help babies thwart allergies, illness and infection. A new study reveals that infants who are nursed by their mothers are also more likely to develop stronger leg muscles than babies who receive formula.
Researchers at the University of Granada surveyed the parents of 2,567 adolescents about the type of feeding their kids received after birth and how long it lasted. In addition, the children participated in physical tests that measured their aerobic capacities and muscular strength. The study, which appears in the Journal of Nutrition, found that kids who were breastfed as babies had stronger leg muscles than those who were not breastfed.
Breastfeeding was associated with a better performance in a horizontal jumping test, regardless of factors such as fat mass, height or the amount of muscle among the study's participants. Babies who were nursed from three to five months, or for more than six months, had half the risk of low performance in the exercise when compared to the adolescents who had never been breastfed.
Enrique Garcia Artero, the lead author of the report, said that the study was the first to examine the link between breastfeeding and muscular aptitude in adolescence.