In a recent study, breast feeding during infancy was associated with a lower risk of lower limb fractures when children reached young adulthood, while maternal smoking was associated with a higher risk of upper limb fractures. The findings are published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
For the study, 201 participants were followed from infancy to 25 years old. While the effects of breast feeding and smoking on bone health in young adulthood were significant, there were no observed effects of birthweight.
The findings suggest that exposures during fetal development and early life may have effects on bone health in adulthood.
"This study reinforces the view that healthy bones start in utero and early childhood, suggesting that prevention of osteoporosis should start as early as possible," said senior author Graeme Jones, PhD, MD, of the University of Tasmania, in Australia.