The relation between breast-feeding and plasma cholesterol level in adult life was examined in a longitudinal study of a sample of people born in 1946. One hundred and seventy-two subjects whose breast-feeding history had been recorded during infancy were examined when they were 32 years old. Women who had been breast-fed had significantly lower mean plasma cholesterol than women who had been bottle-fed (5.4 mmol/l compared with 5.9 mmol/l). For men the difference was smaller and not significant. An unexpected finding was the higher mean weight and skinfold thickness in men who had been breast-fed. These results support the hypothesis that factors acting very early in life affect the risk of disease in adults.
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