Research Article

Association between Breastfeeding and Reduced Risk of Obesity in Childhood: A Cross-sectional Study in Ecuadorian Infants under Five Years of Age


  • Jhon Ponce-Alencastro Teaching Researcher, Medical Doctor, Health Faculty, Medical Sciences Department, Universidad Técnica de Manabí, Portoviejo, Ecuador.
  • Viviana Chilito-Osorio Medical Doctor, Hospital Padre Carollo, Quito, Ecuador
  • Pamela Ramos-Rivera School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
  • Amanda Tenorio-Romero Pediatrician, Ministry of Public Health, District 01D03- Technical Office 01D07, Camilo Ponce Enriquez, Ecuador
  • Edison Castro-López Medical Doctor, Centro de Especialidades Médicas Vital Médica's, Ambato, Ecuador
  • Karen Viña-Zambrano Medical Doctor, Hospital General IESS Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo, Ecuador
  • Stephanie Cruz-Pierard Master in Human Nutrition, Universidad UTE, Quito, Ecuador


Poor eating habits and an increased sedentary lifestyle are responsible for obesity being one of the main public health problems in Ecuador and the world. Several factors can modulate the risk of an infant to be obese, considering genetic, environmental and sociodemographic variables. The aim of this study is to analyze the evidence on the relationship between breastfeeding (BF) and obesity in childhood and thus contribute to the planning of prevention strategies from an early age. A nationally representative sample of children under 5 years of age from the National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT, 2018) was used. We used heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation tests of the data to rule out possible statistical modeling problems and used multicollinearity tests to avoid redundant information in the models. We also calculated confusion matrices to test the correct specification of the models. In addition, we used a binary logistic linear regression model where the Odds Ratio (OR) with their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated for each of the independent variables. Our results show that those children who were breastfed show a greater protective factor against obesity compared to those children who were not breastfed. That is, our results show that exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life increased 2 times (OR= 2.01; CI=1.91-2.17) the probability of not suffering from obesity. Other significant protective factors are the mother's age, the mother's educational level and the mother's area of residence. The recommendation derived from this research is that BF should be carried out until the sixth month of life of the infant and complemented with solid (non-milk) food until two years of age and beyond since this could protect against childhood obesity and its associated comorbidities in adulthood, although the benefit that BF can offer against the risk of obesity in the general population is small.

Article information


Journal of Medical and Health Studies

Volume (Issue)

4 (2)





How to Cite

Ponce-Alencastro, J., Chilito-Osorio, V., Ramos-Rivera, P., Tenorio-Romero, A., Castro-López, E., Viña-Zambrano, K., & Cruz-Pierard, S. (2023). Association between Breastfeeding and Reduced Risk of Obesity in Childhood: A Cross-sectional Study in Ecuadorian Infants under Five Years of Age. Journal of Medical and Health Studies, 4(2), 110–120.



Breastfeeding, Obesity, Infants