Breastfeeding Linked to a Lower Risk of Cancer in Kids

TIME

Childhood leukemia is rare, but it’s the second-biggest killer of children, after accidents. It’s increasing in incidence by 0.9% every year.

“We still don’t know what causes childhood leukemia,” says Efrat Amitay, PhD of the University of Haifa’s School of Public Health in Israel. “There have been all kinds of hypotheses about it, and one of the things that emerged in the research is breastfeeding.”

In their new investigation published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, Amitay and a colleague analyzed 18 studies on the topic of breastfeeding and childhood leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer. The number of childhood leukemia cases in the papers exceeded 10,000, with more than 17,000 controls. They found that breastfeeding a child for six months or longer was associated with a 19% lower risk for childhood leukemia, compared to children who had been breastfed for less time or not at all. Another of…

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