Press Release Press Release Press Release

16 March 2001

Breast feeding is best despite heart disease link claim, says CPHVA

Babies should continue to be breastfeed, despite a new report alleging a possible link with heart disease in later life, the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors Association said today (Friday, 16 March).

The CPHVA said that the report by Medical Research Council scientists - which claims that the longer the breast feeding during infancy the greater the risk of cardiovascular problems in later life - "raised more questions than it answered".

The CPHVA’s Director, Jackie Carnell said: "Breast milk is nutritionally complete, giving the baby the vital nutrients that it needs in the early months of life. It also provides antibodies that provide vital protection against infections, such as gastroenteritis and diarrhoea. It is the best food that nature can give."

"The research raises the possible link with ‘Western –style’ diet with its high ratio of saturated fats. We know that there is a link between Western diet, and coronary heart disease and strokes, but this should not be an indictment of breast feeding, although it may raise questions about childhood diet."

"The researchers agree that there is a positive health benefit to breast feeding and they argue that there may be the need for more research. Their research sample of 331 people born in Cambridge is incredibly small for the claims that are now being made."

"I am increasingly concerned about the number of recent reports that raise unnecessary health fears for parents regarding their children without the comprehensive research to back up the headlines that appear in the newspapers. We should be reassuring parents, not frightening them."

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NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS

For further information, please contact:

 Jackie Carnell ( 07768 73 77 73

Shaun Noble Press Officer ( (020) 7939 7043

mobile ( 07768 69 39 40

CPHVA press releases can be seen on the CPHVA web site: www.msfcphva.org

The CPHVA is an autonomous professional section of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union. The CPHVA represents 18,000 health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses and registered nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


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