Obesity risk higher after Caesarean birth
September 12, 2016 2 comments
Babies born by Caesarean section are more likely to develop obesity in later life, new research suggests.
In a study which tracked more than 22,000 babies into adulthood, academics from Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts found that those delivered by Caesarean were 15 per cent more likely to be obese as adults than those who were not. This number was calculated after the data was adjusted for factors such as the mother’s age and weight.
The difference was actually greater within families, the researchers discovered. In fact among families with children born by different methods, the Caesarean-born children were 64 per cent more likely to develop obesity.
Despite this finding, the researchers said they could not say for sure if there was a causal link between method of birth and obesity. Study co-author Audrey Gaskins, a Harvard University epidemiologist, said the reason for it could be the different levels of bacteria in the babies’ stomachs.
“Children born via C-section harbour less diverse gut bacteria and these patterns of less diversity have been linked to increased capacity for energy harvest by the gut microbiota.”
This could be thought of as a slower metabolism, he added.
Dr Daghni Rajasingham is a spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Speaking to The Guardian, she said that around 26 per cent of UK births were Caesarean sections but “this figure has been rising slowly over the last decade”. This could be the result of “various factors which make childbirth more difficult, including a rise in older mothers and more obese mothers” she told the newspaper.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Photo by Maurizio Pesce via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.
September 12, 2016
Categories: Family Life