C-Section Births Associated With Childhood Obesity

First Posted: May 25, 2013 08:03 AM EDT

Babies born through caesarean section are at a potentially higher risk of being heavy kids and teens when compared to those delivered vaginally, reports Reuters Health.

In order to determine this association between childhood obesity and caesarean delivery, a study was done on 10,000UK infants born between 1991 and 1992.

Data according to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states that in the U.S. nearly one in four women have babies by C section.

This study was led by Dr. Jan Blustein, Ph.D., M.D., from the New York University of Medicine.  Both children and parents were included in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

Research showed that the kids born via C section were 1.83 times more likely to be obese by the age of 11 compared to those children  born via normal delivery.

The researchers couldn't determine the association as to why kids born through C section had higher chances of becoming obese.  They predict that these babies are not  exposed to the bacteria present in the birth canal that normal delivery babies are exposed to. These bacteria play a role in prevention of childhood obesity.

The bacteria in the mother's gastrointestinal tract are the important nutrients that promote digestive health and also promote hormone production. Most importantly they provide vitamins.

"Generally, the early colonization and establishment of the intestine with bacteria seems very important. Yet, much more work is needed before we can explain the mechanisms of the early bacterial colonization," Teresa Ajslev from the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Frederiksberg, Denmark, was quoted in  Reuters Health.

The study was published in the journal International Journal of Obesity.

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