Objective The aim of the present study was to investigate the associations between breastfeeding and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in community-dwelling parous women and to clarify whether the associations depend on age. Methods The present cross-sectional study included 11,118 women, aged 35–69 years. Participants’ longest breastfeeding duration for one child and their number of breastfed children were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire, and their total breastfeeding duration was approximated as a product of the number of breastfed children and the longest breastfeeding duration. The longest and the total breastfeeding durations were categorized into none and tertiles above 0 months. Metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk factors (obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and hyperglycemia) were defined as primary and secondary outcomes, respectively. Associations between breastfeeding history and metabolic syndrome or each cardiovascular risk factor were assessed using multivariable unconditional logistic regression analysis. Results Among a total of 11,118 women, 10,432 (93.8%) had ever breastfed, and 1,236 (11.1%) had metabolic syndrome. In participants aged <55 years, an inverse dose–response relationship was found between the number of breastfed children and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome; multivariable-adjusted odds ratios for 1, 2, 3, and ?4 breastfed children were 0.60 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.31 to 1.17), 0.50 (95% CI: 0.29 to 0.87), 0.44 (95% CI: 0.24 to 0.84), and 0.35 (95% CI: 0.14 to 0.89), respectively. The longest and total breastfeeding durations of longer than 0 months were also associated with lower odds of metabolic syndrome relative to no breastfeeding history in participants aged <55 years. In contrast, all measures of breastfeeding history were not significantly associated with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk factors in participants aged ?55 years old. Conclusions Breastfeeding history may be related to lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome in middleaged parous women.
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