Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wear Your Seatbelt

wear your seatbelt

risks are everywhere... and it's not uncommon to take precautions to reduce those risks, even if those precautions only reduce part and not all of the risk...

women take birth control to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of pregnancy.

men and women use condoms to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of disease and pregnancy.

people lock their car doors to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of having their car stolen.

children and adults wash their hands frequently to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of spreading illness and disease.

parents vaccinate their children to reduce, though not eliminate, the risk of childhood and other serious diseases.

these examples are precautions that most people take rather seriously...

there's another precaution mothers can take that reduces (though does not eliminate) many risks, and continues to do so into adulthood, that many mothers ignore....


breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of a multitude of health problems for infants, toddlers, and children, including diabetes, allergies, mental illness, respitory infections, ear infections, certain cancers (including breast and reproductive cancers), childhood obesity, dental cavities, and urinary tract infections, among many others... even death (infant mortality rate is much lower among breastfed babies including the reduced risk of SIDS) ... and as pointed out earlier, these reduced risks last well into adulthood...

breastfeeding has also been shown to reduce the risk of serious health problems for the mothers, including post-partum hemorrhaging, post-partum depression, breast and reproductive cancers, and osteoporosis, among others.

unlike the majority of other precautions we take, breastfeeding reduces multiple risks.

so it's a little funny that many mothers who choose not to breastfeed often use rationalized reasoning based on only one or two instances from their own limited experiences: "my mother was breastfed and she still got breast cancer" or "my friend breastfed her son and he had alot of ear infections"... nevermind that there's never complete information in these rationalizations (for example, that friend may have only breastfed for a few months, or the mother may have been on estrogen therapy after a hysterectomy), but that quite often these women are the same women who faithfully relied on birth control despite knowing one or more women who became pregnant while on it or still lock their car doors religiously despite knowing someone who (or themselves) has had their car broken into or stolen despite the locks.

why is so much faith put into precautions that have single purposes but so little (to none) put into one that offers so much? how does one or two instances of only one or two of the risks not prevented by breastfeeding override the rest of the extensive list of risk reductions?

though we know not every adult and child using their seatbelt or carseat will walk away from or even survive a car crash, we are still conscientious in using them each and every time we get into a car...

as parents, we want to do everything in our power to keep our children safe and healthy...

make sure you and your children wear your seatbelts.... and make your best effort to breastfeed.

by Leona Kreiner

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bacteria Mix in Guts of Babies Predicts Obesity

Another reason why breast is best!;_ylt=AsJoZudMQJvA6KqKgnCGMb3VJRIF

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter
Fri Mar 7, 11:47 PM ET

FRIDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- The mix of bacteria in a baby's gut may predict whether that infant will become overweight or obese later in life, a new study suggests.
Babies with high numbers of bifidobacteria and low numbers of Staphylococcus aureus may be protected from excess weight gain, according to a team of researchers from the University of Turku in Finland.
Their study was published in the March issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers suggested their findings may help explain why breast-fed babies are at lower risk for later obesity, since bifidobacteria are prevalent in the guts of breast-fed babies.
Other studies repeatedly have found that being breast-fed is associated with a reduced risk of excess weight or obesity in childhood, with the risk lowered from 13 percent to 22 percent.
In the new study, researchers evaluated children who had been part of a long-term study to evaluate the effect of probiotics on allergic disease. Probiotics are potentially beneficial bacteria found in foods such as yogurt and in dietary supplements.
The children had been evaluated at birth, five more times before age 2, and then again at ages 4 and 7. The researchers in the original study had also tested for intestinal microbes in fecal samples collected at 6 months and 12 months.
For this latest study, the Finnish researchers selected 49 participants from the larger study -- 25 of them were overweight or obese at age 7 years, and 24 were normal weight at the same age.
When they looked at the fecal samples, the average bacterial counts of bifidobacteria when taken at 6 months and 12 months were twice as high in those who were a healthy weight as in those who got heavy.
Those who stayed at a healthy weight also had lower fecal S. aureus levels at 6 months and 12 months than did those who got heavy.
The S. aureus may trigger low-grade inflammation, the authors speculated, and that may also contribute to developing obesity.
In other research, gut bacteria in adults have been found to be altered in obese adults who lost weight. Someday, the Finnish researchers speculated, tinkering with gut flora may help prevent or treat obesity.
The latest study doesn't pinpoint exactly why intestinal bacteria are linked with the development of obesity, said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and president of the American Dietetic Association.
"The exact role that bacteria in the intestine play in development of obesity is still the subject of much research," she said, "but the benefits of breast-feeding are clear. Breast-feeding provides not only the proper nutrition for your infant, but it provides benefits that may impact long-term health and weight issues as well."
However, she added that, "while breast-feeding may play a role in the weight of children, so many other factors influence weight that parents shouldn't ignore good role modeling of healthy food choices, proper portions and regular physical activity. Healthy weight is a combination of factors, and no single issue will be the cause of weight gain or the magic answer to weight loss."
Another expert who has studied how obesity changes microbes in the gut calls the new study unique, because it collected information over several years and could look for differences in gut microflora. "The finding, that the lean children harbored higher levels of bifidobacteria at younger ages, is very intriguing," says Ruth Ley, a research assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Still, she says, research on the role of gut bacteria in regulating body weight is in the very early stages.