Longer breastfeeding is associated with increased lower body explosive strength during adolescence

Enrique G Artero, Francisco B Ortega, Vanesa España-Romero, Idoia Labayen, Inge Huybrechts, Angeliki Papadaki, Gerardo Rodriguez, Beatrice Mauro, Kurt Widhalm, Mathilde Kersting, Yannis Manios, Denes Molnar, Luis A Moreno, Michael Sjöström, Frederic Gottrand, Manuel J Castillo, Stefaan De Henauw, HELENA Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Our aim in this study was to examine the association between breastfeeding duration and cardiorespiratory fitness, isometric strength, and explosive strength during adolescence. A total of 2567 adolescents (1426 girls) from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) cross-sectional study aged 12.5-17.5 y were included. Information about duration of any and exclusive breastfeeding was obtained retrospectively by means of a parental questionnaire. The 20-m shuttle run, handgrip strength, and standing long jump tests were used to assess physical fitness. Significant differences among the categories of breastfeeding duration were tested using ANCOVA after adjusting for a set of potential confounders: gestational and current age, birth weight, sexual maturation, fat mass, fat-free mass, maternal education, parental weight status, country, smoking behavior, and days of vigorous physical activity. Longer breastfeeding (either any or exclusive) was associated with a higher performance in the standing long jump test in both boys and girls (P <0.001), regardless of fat mass, fat-free mass, and the rest of potential confounders. In adolescents who were breastfed for 3-5 mo or ≥6 mo, the risk of having a standing long jump performance below the 5th percentile was reduced by half compared with those who were never breastfed [odds ratio (OR) = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.30-0.96, P <0.05; and OR = 0.40, 95% CI = 0.22-0.74, P <0.01, respectively). These findings suggest a role of breastfeeding in determining lower body explosive strength during adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1989-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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