Midwifery researchers find teenage, obese and smoking mothers are less likely to breastfeed

When Amanda Franks had a baby at age 16 at a country hospital, an experience with a midwife put her off breastfeeding her firstborn.

“The midwife came in and asked if the baby had been fed yet,” Ms Franks said.

“I said ‘No’, and she got all hands-on with me and was not explaining anything to me.”

Ms Franks said the midwife then began manoeuvring her breast to get the baby to attach and feed.

“I felt like she was invading my space, I didn’t feel like this was normal — what teenage mother would?

“It kind of set me back with being comfortable about breastfeeding.”

The Bendigo woman said she felt so uncomfortable from the experience that she opted to bottle-feed her baby.

“For someone who is so young and does not know what they are doing, it is very intimidating,” Ms Franks said.

That was in 2002 and by 2016, when Ms Franks had her last baby, she said little had changed — she felt more confident to breastfeed, but it was not due to the help of hospital staff.

“It was more educating myself,” she said.

“It was just because I was a bit more experienced in what I was doing with a baby.”

The study analysed data from 7,500 women who had a baby at Bendigo Health between 2010 and 2017.(Supplied: Raw Pixel)

Teen mothers less likely to breastfeed

Ms Franks’s experience is reflected in a new La Trobe University study that finds teenage mothers are the least likely to initiate breastfeeding.

Melanie Bish, head of nursing and midwifery at La Trobe Rural Health School, analysed data from 7,500 women who had a baby at Bendigo Health between 2010 and 2017.

She discovered that overall, mothers who smoked, were obese or in their teenage years were less likely to initiate breastfeeding.

“We had 76.8 per cent of women between 20 and 34 who were breastfeeding, which was fantastic,” Dr Bish said.

Melanie Bish sitting with a mother and baby.
Melanie Bish is passionate about breastfeeding education and research for mothers.(La Trobe University: Kate O’Connor)

Calls for better breastfeeding education

Dr Bish said the research showed how urgently healthcare providers needed to change their approach to educating women about breastfeeding.

She said she wanted to see breastfeeding initiation to be given the same amount of education as women received when they were preparing for birth and motherhood.

“We’ve got to be strong advocates for women in vulnerable populations, who do have several risks, to feel confident to access healthcare services during pregnancy and that breastfeeding initiation is part of that discussion,” Dr Bish said.

Jennifer Hurrell standing and smiling with some trees behind her
Jennifer Hurrell wants to see greater attention paid to breastfeeding by medical experts.(Supplied: Jennifer Hurrell)

‘Breastfeeding gets missed’

The Australian Breastfeeding Association is backing the calls for pregnant women to be better educated about breastfeeding initiation.

The association’s Victorian branch president Jennifer Hurrell wants to see an overhaul of how it is treated.

She said other than lactation consultations there was not a medical specialty that focused on breastfeeding.

“I think breastfeeding gets missed,” Ms Hurrell said.

“There isn’t an area of medicine which covers breastfeeding, despite it being a key thing which happens to a women’s body.”

Mother breastfeeding a baby
Australian Breastfeeding Association wants to see pregnant women better educated about breastfeeding initiation.(Source: supplied)

Ms Hurrell said research showed how much breastfeeding impacted the development of a human infant.

She said the benefits of breastfeeding included the reduced risks of neonatal mortality, gastrointestinal, respiratory and ear infections.

“Interestingly, research has shown when a mother is breastfeeding, the blood flow to her breasts is higher than it is to her brain,” Ms Hurrell said.

“Because of the effort the body puts into making milk, there is greater blood flow.

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Heart Foundation statistics show Wodonga is obese, at risk of heart issues | The Border Mail

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Almost half of all Wodonga residents are obese. And the strain of obesity, along with other lifestyle risk factors, such as smoking and inactivity, is having an impact on people’s heart health. New data released by the Heart Foundation yesterday revealed 42 per cent of Wodonga people are obese – this is significantly higher than the national average of 31 per cent. The data, which looks at heart disease risk factors from 2012 to 2016, shows a disparity between people’s health either side of the Border. Despite Albury’s obesity rate sitting at 39 per cent, which is also higher than the national average, heart-related hospital admissions (42.3 per 10,000) and the heart disease mortality rate (57.3 per 10,000) are both below the national averages of 43.5 and 65.5 respectively. This is a stark difference to its neighbouring city, with Wodonga sitting significantly higher (hospital admissions 49.3 and mortality rate of 67.4) in both categories. Heart Foundation chief executive Victoria Kellie-Ann Jolly said there was also a great divide between Victoria’s regional communities and their metro counterparts. “What these alarming figures tell us is that social and economic disadvantage matter for your heart,” she said. IN OTHER NEWS: “Victorians who live in the state’s most disadvantaged areas are more likely to have significant risk factors, be hospitalised for heart attack or die from coronary heart disease. “We know better heart health is linked with secure work, safe affordable housing, good education, access to healthy food and appropriate health services. “The burden of heart disease weighs heavy on us all and so it’s time to act to close the metro-regional divide. We need government, communities, industry and individuals working together to address these inequalities.” As Victorians finally approach a COVID-normal summer, Ms Jolly urged people to understand their personal risks for heart disease and take steps to address them. “We know people may have put off seeing a doctor this year, but it’s time now to make that appointment,” she said. “If you’re 45 years and over, or from age 30 if you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, I urge you to talk to your GP about having a Heart Health Check.” Albury Wodonga Health cardiologist Dr Wei Sim was contacted for comment but was unable to respond due a busy surgery schedule.


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2020’s Most Overweight and Obese States in America

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and things are not looking good for the nation. People can become offended by the wording, but the facts don’t change, fat is the new normal according to data from the Centers for Diesease Control and Prevention.


However, beyond the obvious health issues, the cost of obesity threatens individuals and organizations as it weighs down the healthcare system. It’s like a perfect storm of a population that gets sicker and sicker as it, literally, grows, and with that comes more expense and the need for more healthcare resources to be devoted to a problem that might be, arguably, self-inflicted.



This is probably the point where you might see a thousand personal trainers jump up and scream about comorbidity, health, and exercise.


That’s great, but there is no escaping the fact that as memberships in gyms and health clubs has increased over the last three decades, as more money has gone into the fitness industry, the increase in obesity rates has not seen a commensurate decline, in fact, the opposite.


Source: Axios


There are also some interesting factors at play in the level of obesity, For example, while West Virginia has the lowest percentage of overweight adults, it has the second highest percentage of obese adults meaning that there is no middle ground.


The problem is, frankly, very, very big. But at the end of the day, the data shows that high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholestrol pretty much track with the worst states in the charts. You can check out the infographic on obesity factors among states here.


The Facts About the High Cost of Being Fat

  • $294.6 Billion: Estimated medical cost of diabetes in the U.S. in 2019.
  • $9,506: Average annual diabetes-related health care costs for patients.
  • 2.3: Number of times by which a diabetes patient’s health care costs increase.
  • 14 & 18 Years: Reduction in the average male and female type 1 diabetes patient’s life expectancy, respectively.
  • 88 million: Number of American adults who have “prediabetes” (84% of them don’t know they have it).
  • 70%: Chances of developing diabetes if both your parents have type 2 diabetes.


The following data breaks down the top 20 states by prevalence of obesity, courtesy of Wallethub. Where does your state rank? And do you know why?


It’s worth asking the question whether there is a culture of obesity that can be identified by state and what are the demographic, socio-economic, and cultural factors driving the statistics.


Going to the gym or exercising more or eating better doesn’t seem to resonate equally across state boundaries. Figuring out why is an important part of finding solutions that aren’t just the usual fitness industry quick fixes and promises.


1 = FattestStateTotal Score‘Obesity & Overweight Prevalence’ Rank‘Health Consequences’ Rank‘Food & Fitness’ Rank
1West Virginia74.66219
6South Carolina65.858174
20North Dakota58.21142846

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Weight-reduction surgery for severely obese adults may prevent second heart attack, death — ScienceDaily

People with severe obesity (BMI >35) and a prior heart attack who undergo weight-reduction surgery may lower their risk of a second heart attack, major cardiovascular event, heart failure and death compared to people with similar medical histories who did not have weight-reduction surgery, according to new research published today in Circulation, the flagship journal of the American Heart Association.

“It is well known that obesity is associated with an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” said lead study author Erik Näslund, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the department of clinical sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. “It has also been shown that weight-reduction surgery can improve Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. What has yet to be proven is: if you have had a heart attack, can weight-reduction surgery reduce your risk of having another heart attack, which was the focus of our study.”

In the study from Sweden, Näslund and colleagues measured the trends between weight-reduction surgery and subsequent heart attacks, stroke and death in people with severe obesity who had experienced a prior heart attack. The study linked information from two health registries — the Swedish Web-System for Enhancement and Development of Evidence-Based Care in Heart Disease Evaluated According to Recommended Therapies (SWEDEHEART) registry and the nationwide Scandinavian Obesity Surgery Registry (SOReg).

Researchers compared data from 2005 to 2018 of 509 severely obese patients who had heart attacks to 509 severely obese patients who had heart attacks and then subsequently had either gastric bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy surgery (the two most common types of weight-reduction surgery) between 2007 and 2018. Each patient in the study who had weight-reduction surgery was matched to a patient who did not have surgery and with the same degree of obesity, (the average BMI of both groups was 40). The patients were also matched according to gender, age, health status and health history.

Patient data was gathered for a follow-up period of up to eight years (median of 4.6 years), and researchers statistically analyzed variables that may have affected risk for the patients who had heart attacks, strokes or died during the follow-up period.

Researchers found:

Weight-reduction surgery was associated with a lower risk of heart attack and a lower risk of new onset heart failure, yet there was no statistical difference in the risk of stroke between the surgery and non-surgery groups.

The patients who had weight-reduction surgery had half the risk of death compared to those who did not have surgery.

The rate of serious surgical complications was similar to that seen among weight-reduction surgery patients without prior heart attacks.

While patients’ weight in the surgery group was markedly lower one year after surgery (median BMI was 29 after one year), researchers note that the weight loss alone was likely not the driving force in the association between surgery and decreased risk. Additional health changes at two years after surgery included:

A large number of surgery patients had significant improvements in sleep apnea (67% remission) as well as improvement in hypertension (22 % remission), cholesterol and triglyceride levels (29 % remission); and

more than half of the patients with Type 2 diabetes experienced clinical remission of the disease after the weight-reduction surgery.

The study authors did not have information about the socioeconomic status of patients, and there was no data on weight beyond the two-year follow-up mark for the group who had surgery, and no follow-up weight data for the non-surgery group. Additionally, within the surgery group, there was a substantially higher number of patients who had gastric bypass, thus, any difference in outcomes between gastric bypass patients and the patients who had the sleeve gastrectomy procedure could not be evaluated. Researchers were also unable to assess if the timing between each surgery group patient’s heart attack and weight-reduction surgery was a key factor for complications. A randomized controlled trial is needed to confirm the results of this study.

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Materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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