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Breast-Feeding Boosts Child's School Performance
Date:6/17/2009

It led to better chances of higher GPA, college attendance, study shows,,

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Children who were breast-fed do better in high school and are more likely to go to college than their bottle-fed siblings, researchers report.

While the health benefits of breast-feeding to both infants and mothers is well known, this study suggests the practice may have educational benefits as well. This is the first study using data on siblings to examine the effect of breast-feeding on high school completion and college attendance, the researchers noted.

"We compare sibling pairs -- one of whom was breast-fed and one of whom was not, or siblings who were breast-fed for different durations -- and find consistent evidence that breast-fed children have higher high school grade point averages and a higher probability of attending college," said study co-author Joseph Sabia, an assistant professor of public policy at American University in Washington, D.C.

Since their sample contained a variety of adolescents, the researchers ruled out factors such as socioeconomic status in the connection between breast-feeding and educational achievement, Sabia said.

The report is published in the June 11 issue of the Journal of Human Capital.

For the report, Sabia and his colleague Daniel Rees, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver, used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They looked at the breast-feeding histories of 126 siblings from 59 families; high school graduation and college attendance data was obtained for 191 siblings from 90 families.

"If you're breast-fed, your high school GPA goes up substantially, and the likelihood that you go on to college goes up," Rees said.

For every month you are breast-fed, your high school GPA goes up about 1 percent and your probability of going to college goes up about 2 percent, R
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