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A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom suggests that mothers who breastfeed their children may lead to their enhanced performance in school exams throughout their teenage years. The study found that children who were breastfed for longer durations were more likely to achieve higher results in their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams at age 16 than those who were not breastfed.

Breastfeeding enhances performance among teenagers

The researchers from the University of Oxford analyzed data from nearly 19,000 British children who took part in the Millennium Cohort Study, and the correlation between breastfeeding and exam performance remained significant even after accounting for factors like socio-economic status and parental intellectual ability.

In this study, a group of children was observed at ages three to 22. The researchers linked this data to the National Pupil Dataset, which contains academic information on students in English state schools. They focused on a representative sample of around 5,000 participants up to the age of 16 and analyzed their performance in English and math GCSE exams.

Breastfeeding duration linked to exam performance

The duration of breastfeeding was found to be linked to children’s exam performance. A study revealed that 19% of children who breastfed for more than 12 months failed their English GCSE, while 41.7% of those who were never breastfed failed. Among teens, 28.5% of those breastfed for at least 12 months achieved a high pass (A or A+), whereas only 9.6% of non-breastfed children achieved the same.

In GCSE Math, approximately 24% of children breastfed for over 12 months failed the test, compared to 41.9% of those who were never breastfed. Moreover, slightly more than 31% of teens who breastfed for at least 12 months achieved an A or A+, while only 11% of non-breastfed children accomplished the same.

Breastfeeding for a minimum of 12 months increased the likelihood of children passing both exams by 39% and decreased the chances of failing the English exam by 25% compared to those who were never breastfed.