Breastfeeding in Infancy in Relation to Subsequent Physical Size: A 20-year Follow-up of the Ibaraki Children’s Cohort Study (IBACHIL)

Mizuki Sata, Kazumasa Yamagishi, Toshimi Sairenchi, Fujiko Irie, Keiko Sunou, Hiroshi Watanabe, Hiroyasu Iso, Hitoshi Ota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Breastfeeding is said to prevent overweight and obesity in childhood but the evidence about its long-term impact on body size into adolescence and adulthood is scarce. We sought to examine the association between feeding types and subsequent physical size at the ages of 3, 6, 12, and 22 years. Methods: The Ibaraki Children’s Cohort (IBACHIL) Study, which began in 1992, involved a cohort of 4,592 Japanese children from 87 communities of a single prefecture whose parents answered health questionnaires about their child’s health and life habits at the age of 3 years. Follow-up questionnaires were distributed to the same cohort when they were 6, 12, and 22 years old. Self-reported height and weight, body mass index (BMI), and overweight status at ages of 3 (n = 4,290), 6 (n = 1,999; proportion of participants analyzed = 47%), 12 (n = 2,227; 52%), and 22 (n = 1,459; 34%) years were compared according to feeding type (breastfeeding, formula feeding, and mixed feeding) during infancy. Results: At the age of 3 years, multivariable adjusted-mean weight and prevalence of overweight were less for breastfed children than those formula-fed in both boys (weight: 14.6 kg vs 14.7 kg, P = 0.07, overweight: 6.3% vs 9.3%, P = 0.03) and in girls (14.0 kg vs 14.2 kg, P = 0.01 and 10.4% vs 13.6%, P = 0.06). However, there were no statistically significant differences in weight, BMI, and overweight at the ages of 6, 12, and 22 years according to feeding type. Conclusion: Breastfeeding may prevent overweight in childhood, but its impact is not significant in adolescence and adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-67
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • body mass index
  • breast feeding
  • children
  • cohort study
  • epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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