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Study Finds Exercise Increases Benefits Of Breast Milk

OSU Medical Center

Exercise during and after pregnancy increases a compound in breast milk that reduces a baby’s lifelong risks of serious health issues, including diabetes and heart disease. That’s according to a recent study by researchers at Ohio State University’s Medical Center. 

Part of the research involved monitoring about 150 pregnant and postpartum women using activity trackers. The study found that women who had more steps per day had an increased amount of a beneficial compound known as 3SL in their breast milk. 

“What we’re showing here is that any type of moderate exercise is really important,” lead author Kristin Stanford said. “It doesn’t have to be intense. A lot of the women that were followed, it was just their activity levels or steps per day. It doesn’t have anything to do with their exercise intensity.”   

Because many women are unable to breastfeed or experience complications that require bed rest, researchers are examining if they can isolate the compound and add it to infant formula. The study is published in the journal Nature Metabolism.

Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. Foley has worked in various roles, from producing news and feature stories to engineering Live From Studio A sessions. A series of music features Foley started in 2018 called Music Journeys has grown into a podcast and radio show. He also assists in developing other programs in WCBE's Podcast Experience. Foley hosts The Morning Mix, a weekday music show featuring emerging and established musicians, our Columbus-area and Ohio-based talent, and additional artists that inspire him.
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