By Hugh Finlay
Research is showing that family life has health benefits attached to it. A study found that women who breastfeed their children have a lower risk of developing heart disease, than women who do not breastfeed their babies. The study conducted in China, showed that women who breastfed their children, had a 9% less chance of getting a heart attack or a stroke, in later life. The study also showed that these women had a 12% lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease, in later life. These results were for women who breastfed for about a year. If women breastfed for 2 years the results were even better. They had an 18% less chance of getting a heart attack or stroke, in later life.
This is not the first time breastfeeding has been linked to health benefits. Previous research showed that breastfeeding leads to lower levels of diabetes, high blood pressure and metabolic dysfunction, for the mothers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months, and then gradually introduce food, while continuing to breastfeed for another year or more.
A study has shown that children are less likely to become obese, if their fathers spend more time with them. The study, on children between the age of 2 and 4 years old, measured how much fathers involved themselves in all aspects of the child's life, from playing and caregiving, to nutritional and other advice. By the age of 4, children who had more contact with their dads, had a 30% lower chance of becoming obese.
It did not stop there. Those fathers who got more involved with looking after their kids, reduced the kids chance of becoming obese by a further 33%. The study reported a decline in overweight in the children from 14% to 8%, and a decline in obesity from 6% to 4%. The study also showed that the fathers involvement in decision-making about how their children should be brought up (by others), had no effect on the child's rate of obesity.
The fathers in the study had full-time jobs.
The study's author, Michelle Wong from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, said "It is possible that when fathers are more involved, the total amount of time both parents dedicate to child caregiving increases - its not just the mother providing care but the father as well."