Published study on obese women and breastfeeding garners attention

Felix Oka, M.D.
Felix Oka, M.D.

New mothers who want to breastfeed their babies would do well to watch their weight according to a collaborative study by a group that includes Felix Oka, M.D., M.S., professor of pediatrics and assistant dean for career advising, and fellows Teresa Orth, M.D, and Shilpa Babbar, M.D.

The research conducted by a team of investigators from the School of Medicine, Children’s Mercy Kansas City and the Kansas University Medical Center showed that obesity significantly reduces the chances of a woman ever breastfeeding. Women who are obese are 16 percent less likely to be able to breastfeed than women whose weight falls within a normal range, the study reported. Orth presented results and highlights of the study at the April 26-30 annual meeting of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chicago.

Results were based on a survey of more than 66,000 mothers in the United States conducted between 2009 and 2010. Identifying obesity as a high-risk group for not breastfeeding could help clinicians to design future interventions for overweight mothers.

The student is also the focus of a recent article published in Live Science.