Pi Phi Chapter

Breastfeeding and its Affect on Developing Type-2 Diabetes in Early Adulthood

Nursing Research on the Green

2011 Abstract

Kirsten Connaughty, BSN, RN
Patricia E. Zander Ph.D., RN
Viterbo University


  • Background: Type-2 Diabetes is quickly becoming the fastest growing preventable disease in adolescents and young adults. Prevention at the earliest possible stage in life may be the key to controlling this growing epidemic.
  • Significance: Identifying risk factors associated with type-2 diabetes which are affected by breastfeeding is the first step in determining the earliest possible age for preventing type-2 diabetes.
  • Purpose/objective: This literature review examines the affects of being breastfed during infancy on the development of type-2 diabetes.
  • Methods/project: Fourteen articles were chosen using CINAHL, Epscohost, and Medline databases. Articles chosen included retrospective studies and meta-analyses of breastfeeding practices in conjunction with one or more risk factors associated with type-2 diabetes: (a) weight or BMI, (b) blood glucose or serum insulin levels, (c) metabolic syndrome and (d) duration of breastfeeding.
  • Results: Findings support being breastfed during infancy influences weight both in early life and adulthood, lowers pre-prandial glucose levels in infants, and decreases the occurrence of metabolic syndrome in those under the age of 15. Duration of breastfeeding also has a positive relationship in reducing the risk of developing type-2 diabetes later in life.
  • Clinical Implications: Sufficient evidence supports breastfeeding as an influence on the development of type-2 diabetes; however further research must be conducted to evaluate the strength of confounding factors such as family history, exercise habits, and nutritional practices.

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