Babies born by C-section are 83 per cent more likely to become obese, study says

Babies born by C-section are 83 per cent more likely to become obese, study says

Babies born by cesarean section are significantly more likely to become obese as children, says a recent U.K. study involving more than 10,000 children.

In Canada, the C-section rate is approximately 26 per cent, which is 45 per cent higher than it was in 1998.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, analyzed data on a total of 10,219 British children between 1991 and 1992. The children were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

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The researchers found that by age 11, those who were delivered by C-section were 83 per cent more likely to be overweight than those born vaginally. This trend was noted at six months, and also age three, 11 and 15.

Other factors, such as the mother's weight and how long the babies were breastfed, were taken into account.

It's important to note, however, that while a recent review of nine other studies has also linked C-sections with obese children, it's hard to determine the cause of the obesity because C-sections are more common in overweight women.

"The other possibilities are (that) these are children that would have been heavier anyway, says lead researcher Dr. Jan Blustein from the New York University of Medicine. "Being heavy as a woman is a risk factor for C-section, so that's the problem with trying to figure out whether this is real or if it's simply a matter of selection."

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The researchers speculate that babies born vaginally are exposed to bacteria in the birth canal which might account for a stronger metabolism in later years.

And Blustein also acknowledges that the link between C-section births and child obesity was "weak" among kids born to normal-weight mothers, reports Reuters.

This study comes after the release of a Canadian study earlier this year that suggests C-sections are no safer for twin births than vaginal delivery. In Canada, C-sections are routine practice for twin births as they are often recommended by doctors in those circumstances.