§ Sandra Osborne
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research the Department has conducted on a potential link between decreasing breast feeding rates and increasing obesity rates among children. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
The Department has not commissioned any research directly on a potential link between decreasing breastfeeding rates and increasing obesity rates among children.
Women in lower socio-economic groups (social class V) are more likely to be overweight or obese and they are less likely to breastfeed. Breastfeeding rates are increasing and the Infant Feeding Survey 2000 showed that there was a significant increase in the incidence of breastfeeding in social class V, from 50 per cent. in 1995 to 59 per cent. in 2000.1328W
The Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy suggested in its report on the Scientific Review of the Welfare Food Scheme that breastfed infants are less likely to become overweight as children.