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Media Release: La Leche League International Offers Good News about the Link between Breastfeeding and the Prevention of Osteoporosis during National Osteoporosis Prevention Month

Schaumburg, IL (May 2002)--May is National Osteoporosis Prevention Month. While there is still much to learn about this disease which often leads to fractures, stooped posture, and chronic pain and disability, there is good news for mothers who choose to breastfeed.

Research suggests that breastfeeding may protect women against hip fracture in old age. In the long-term, lactation may actually result in reduced risk of osteoporosis and stronger bones for the mother who breastfeeds. Some studies suggest that women who did not breastfeed have a higher risk of hip fractures after menopause.

Because calcium is one important element in producing human milk, some health professionals had mistakenly assumed an increased risk of osteoporosis for women who breastfed their children. However, research studies have shown that after weaning their children, breastfeeding mothers' bone density returns to pre-pregnancy or even higher levels. In one study, researchers examined women who had at least six children each and who had breastfed for a minimum of six months; these women were compared with women who were never pregnant. Results showed no significant decrease in bone mineral density and no osteoporosis attributable to the multiple pregnancies and extended breastfeeding.

For more information on the short- and long-term health benefits to mothers who choose to breastfeed or for any other questions about breastfeeding, visit La Leche League International's website at www.lalecheleague.org. La Leche League International is a not for profit organization that offers education, information and mother-to-mother support to mothers who want to breastfeed their babies.

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