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Study Shows Breastfeeding Duration May Effect Child’s Test Scores

June 12, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to CNN, breastfeeding duration during infancy may impact adolescents’ test scores, reveals recent research. The study, led by Dr. Reneé Pereyra-Elías from the University of Oxford, tracked approximately 5,000 British children from the early 2000s until their final year of high school.

The children were categorized into groups based on their breastfeeding duration: no breastfeeding, a few months, or a year or more. The researchers subsequently compared the children’s performance in the UK’s General Certificate of Secondary Education exams during their later years of secondary school.

The findings were published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers discovered a slight increase in test scores among children who were breastfed for longer periods. The findings revealed that kids breastfed for a minimum of 12 months had a 39% higher chance of achieving good results in both math and English GCSE exams. Additionally, they were 25% less likely to fail the English exam compared to those who never received breast milk.

Dr. Kevin McConway, a professor emeritus of applied statistics at the Open University in England, lauded the meticulous analysis for its substantial sample size, emphasizing its strength and reliability.

Encouraging families to breastfeed can bring numerous potential benefits, although it may not be the ideal choice for every individual family. Further research is necessary to validate these findings, especially studies that consider the varying factors among families, as stated by Pereyra-Elías.

McConway pointed out that since the study was observational, it observed people’s behavior rather than randomly assigning it. Hence, the results only indicate a correlation between breastfeeding and test scores, not causation.

“It’s not possible to be certain about what’s causing what,” he said. “Even though these questions have been around for almost a century, we still do not have a definitive answer.”

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