Breastfeeding and Bone Mineral Density in Adults Ages 30-46 in The Manitoba Personalized Lifestyle Research (TMPLR) Study

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Lam, Linda
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Osteoporosis is a major risk factor for debilitating fractures in geriatric populations. It is increasingly recognized that osteoporosis originates in early life, long before symptoms manifest in late adulthood. Breastfeeding is proposed to “program” skeletal development, however, there is a lack of consensus on the effects of breastfeeding on bone mineral density (BMD), and few studies have investigated this association in adulthood. To address this knowledge gap, we used data from 408 participants ages 30-46 years in the cross-sectional TMPLR study. Feeding in infancy was self-reported (any breastfeeding, breastfeeding duration and any formula feeding) and validated against maternal report for a subset of participants. Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) was used to measure BMD at the whole body, femoral neck, non-dominant forearm, and lumbar spine (L1-L4 vertebrae). Independent of current age, sex, height, weight, alcohol consumption, physical activity, current and early life socioeconomic status, being breastfed was associated with significantly higher whole body BMD (adjusted beta estimate +22.7 mg/cm2, 95% CI [0.3, 45.1], equivalent to +1.9%, p=0.046). Similar trends were observed at the femoral neck, forearm and lumbar spine, but these associations were not significant in adjusted models. Unexpectedly, these associations tended to be stronger among those who were partially breastfed (breast milk and formula) than those who were fully breastfed (breast milk only). There was no apparent dose-response relationship according to the duration of breastfeeding. In summary, this study suggests that breastfeeding may contribute to a small but potentially clinically relevant increase in whole body BMD in mid-adulthood.
bone mineral density (BMD), breastfeeding, Osteoporosis, Manitoba, The Manitoba Personalized Lifestyle Research study (TMPLR)