CitationOlson, Julie Skalamera & Hayward, Mark D. (2017). Breastfeeding, overweight status, and inflammation. Social Science Research. vol. 64 pp. 226-236
AbstractResearch documents a host of health benefits of breastfeeding for infants and children, including long-term health conditions arising from inflammation. Here, we provide new evidence about this association, focusing on the link between breastfeeding in infancy and inflammation in early adulthood. Our study is based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) which allows us investigate a potentially important mediating pathway – overweight status from early adolescence into young adulthood. Results from pathway analyses in a structural equation modeling framework indicate that, in addition to a direct pathway linking breastfeeding and inflammation, an indirect pathway through overweight status across adolescence into young adulthood partially explains the association between breastfeeding and inflammation. Overweight status, moreover, links breastfeeding to inflammation not only through proximal timing of overweight status, but also through an indirect cascading process of overweight status over the life course that is evident in adolescence. Overall, this study highlights the importance of considering breastfeeding, overweight status and inflammation as dynamic life course processes that contribute to development of health inequalities.
Keyword(s)Breastfeeding Inflammation Overweight status Life course
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleSocial Science Research
Author(s)Olson, Julie Skalamera
Hayward, Mark D.