Above is the title of a July 10, 2012 WebMD article highlighting the fact that women who breastfeed remain slimmer later in life. The WebMD article, and several other news stories on the same subject were based on a study published on July 10, 2012, in the International Journal of Obesity.
The study conducted in Britain, examined the long term effects of over 740,000 postmenopausal women and recorded their height, weight, and reproductive history. The results showed that women who breastfed for at least six months had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who did not, regardless of how many children they had.
The research showed that the effects of breastfeeding were long-term in that mothers who breastfed showed less body fat 30 years after breastfeeding. The study demonstrated that just 6 months of breastfeeding had a result of a 1% decrease in body fat years later.
Lead researcher Kirsty Bobrow of the University of Oxford noted, "Even a modest 1% reduction in BMI would substantially reduce the number of obesity-related diseases and their costs." She then commented on the surprisingly long term positive effects by saying, "We already know breastfeeding is best for babies, and this study adds to a growing body of evidence that the benefits extend to the mother as well - even 30 years after she's given birth. Pregnant women should be made aware of these benefits to help them make an informed choice about infant feeding."
Professor Dame Valerie Beral, director of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, who was also involved in the study, emphasized how big an impact a 1% reduction in body fat could have on a population by saying, "A 1% reduction in BMI may seem small, but spread across the population of the UK that could mean about 10,000 fewer premature deaths per decade from obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers." .