Real evidence that breastfeeding protects against snoring in children
An interesting article-What are your thoughts?TSANZWednesday 27 March 2013, 3:13PM
Media release from TSANZ
Australian researchers have provided evidence that breastfeeding protects children against snoring and sleep apnoea.
They report that the longer a child is breastfed the less their risk of regular snoring at the age of eight.
Previous overseas studies have shown that disordered sleep in children increases the risk of learning and behavioural problems.
The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research and the University of Sydney reported there had been some claims in overseas medical literature of the benefits of breastfeeding to prevent sleep problems in children.
"We wanted to see if there was any real population-based evidence to support the claims," researcher Bronwyn Brew said.
Speaking at the annual scientific meeting of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) in Darwin today, Ms Brew said the research team collected data from a cohort of 450 children recruited as part of the Childhood Asthma Prevention Study (CAPS).
They recorded data on breastfeeding, formula and solid feeding of the children based on parental recall and measured the children at the age of eight for levels of snoring and sleep apnoea.
The researchers found about 18 per cent of the children were regular snorers or displayed evidence of sleep apnoea.
"Comparing the data, we found that breastfeeding for longer than one month was associated with reduced prevalence of regular snoring at age eight," Ms Brew said.
"We also found the risk of habitual snoring was reduced the longer the children were breastfed."
The researchers say the benefits of breastfeeding in terms of sleep patterns in children up to the age of eight is not fully understood.
"There is a need for further research using a larger cohort of children to inform these initial findings," Ms Brew said.
The most common cause of snoring and sleep apnoea in children is enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Other causes include being overweight or having frequent colds, and there is an association with structural features of the jaw.
The TSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting is being held at the Darwin Convention Centre. It will run until tomorrow (Wednesday 27 March).
The meeting is addressing advances in the treatment of conditions ranging from respiratory infections to asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer and sleep disorders. It incorporates the annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Respiratory Science