Impact of breastfeeding on the intelligence quotient of eight-year-old children

Fonseca, Ana L. M.; Albernaz, Elaine P.; Kaufmann, Cristina C.; Neves, Ivana H.; de Figueiredo, Vera L. M.
July 2013
Jornal de Pediatria;Jul/Aug2013, Vol. 89 Issue 4, p346
Academic Journal
Objective: This study aimed to determine the influence of breastfeeding on the intellectual capacity of children from a cohort in a developing country, with a control for the main confounding factors. Methods: A prospective cohort study was performed including all infants born in the hospitals of a medium-size city, and a random sample of these newborns was monitored at 30, 90, and 180 days of life, and at age 8 years. Several aspects of breastfeeding were assessed in the follow-up and, at 8 years, general intellectual capacity was assessed through the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices test. The statistical analyses used Student's t-test, ANOVA, and linear regression and logistics, considering p-values less than 0.05 as statistically significant associations. Results: At age 8 years, 560 children were assessed with Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices test. The average score was 22.56 points, with a standard deviation of 5.93. The difference in the averages found between the breastfed and non-breastfed groups at six months of age was 1.33 (p = 0.008). Mother's and child's skin color, social and economic class, maternal education and smoking, and breastfeeding at six months of age (p = 0.007) were still associated with the outcome. Conclusions: Children that were breastfed for six months or more had better performance in the general intellectual assessment, even after adjusting for the main confounding factors.


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