Effect of breastfeeding compared with formula feeding on infant body composition

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Compared with breastfeeding, formula feeding is associated with altered body composition in infancy.

Nutrition in early life may influence future body composition in infants. Breast feeding compared to formula feeding may have different effects on body composition, studies of which this review aimed to assess. Fifteen studies that reported the outcomes fat-free mass, fat mass, or the percentage of fat mass in breastfed and formula-fed infants were included in the systematic review and eleven for meta-analysis. Studies were assessed for bias against set criteria. Results showed increased fat-free mass in formula fed infants and reduced fat mass at 3-6 months, compared to breastfed infants. However, at 12 months, fat mass was higher in formula-fed infants.

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