Breast-Feeding May Cut

Mothers' Diabetes Risk

Breast-feeding, which is thought to protect babies from developing diabetes, may also help keep their mothers from getting the disease, new research suggests.

Women who breast-fed for at least one year were about 15 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never breast-fed. For each additional year of breast-feeding, there was an additional 15 percent decreased risk. However, both breast-feeders and bottle-feeders studied faced very low absolute risks of the disease.

The findings are far from conclusive, but breast-feeding may change mothers' metabolism in ways that make the connection plausible, said researchers led by Alison Stuebe, of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The study, published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association, involved 157,000 nurses who participated in two long-running health studies.

Malnutrition in Africa Is

Worse Than in the '90s

Hunger and malnutrition kill nearly 6 million children a year, and more people are malnourished in sub-Saharan Africa this decade than in the 1990s, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday.

Many of the children die from diseases that are treatable, including diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria and measles, said the report by the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of malnourished people grew to 203.5 million in 2000-02 from 170.4 million 10 years earlier, the report said.

The U.N. food agency said the goal of reducing the number of the world's hungry by half by the 2015, set by the World Food Summit in 1996 and reinforced by the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, remains distant but attainable.

Radiation May Increase

Risk of Broken Hips

Radiation treatment for pelvic-area cancer can increase women's risks of breaking a hip later on, a study found.

The higher risks were seen in cancers that will be diagnosed in about 30,000 U.S. women this year.

It is well known that radiation treatment can damage bone, but the fracture risks have not been well-studied, the researchers said. A broken hip for elderly people can lead to deadly complications.

The study, in today's Journal of the American Medical Association, involved 6,428 women 65 and older when diagnosed with pelvic cancer -- women who already run a higher risk of broken bones.

Nancy Baxter of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, the study's lead author, said doctors should offer women who have received radiation for pelvic-area cancer bone-density scans and treatment that might protect them from fractures.

Baxter said the findings do not mean women with pelvic-area cancer should not be treated with radiation. "For some of these cancers, there's really no alternative," she said.

-- From News Services