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Cesarean Birth, Obesity of Child Linked? Study Suggests It's True

Image: Cesarean Birth, Obesity of Child Linked? Study Suggests It's True

A new study suggests children born via cesarean birth may have a higher risk of obesity. (Danny Lawson/Press Association via AP Images)
 

By    |   Thursday, 08 Sep 2016 04:00 PM

Cesarean births have been linked with offspring obesity and researchers suggest the risk should be considered when a decision is being made about the procedure, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

The study stated that after maternal factors were considered, researchers discovered that children born by C-section had a 15 percent increased link to obesity by the time the child reached adolescence and early adulthood, according to Reuters.

The study stated with even within families, children born by C-section were 64 percent more likely to be obese than their siblings born by vaginal delivery. Babies born by vaginal birth to women with a previous cesarean delivery were still 31 percent less likely to be obese than kids born to women with repeated cesarean deliveries, wrote Reuters.

"I was expecting that after controlling for these factors the association between cesarean birth and childhood obesity would completely disappear," Dr. Jorge Chavarro, a public health and nutrition researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, told Reuters. "That was not the case."

The study stated more research was needed to clarify "the mechanisms underlying this association" but clinicians and patients should take issues of future obesity challenges into account when deciding whether to delivery by cesarean.

"Our group's original motivation to conduct this study was to show that the association between cesarean birth and higher risk of childhood obesity that others had reported was solely due to the fact that many of the reasons that cesareans are performed — such as maternal obesity, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, large babies, and gestational diabetes …," Audrey Gaskins, one of the study's coauthors, told ResearchGate.

"We found that individuals born by cesarean were more likely to become obese as children and adolescents, and to remain obese as young adults. What makes our findings compelling and different from previous studies addressing this question, is that this was also true when we compared siblings who differed in type of delivery — one was born by cesarean and the other by vaginal delivery — and when restricted to women without any known risk factors for having a cesarean, some of whom may have undergone elective cesarean," Gaskin continued.

Reuters reported that the study looked at data on 22,068 children born to 15,271 women, including 4,921 born by cesarean delivery. Researchers tracked the weight and height of the children in the study from 1996, when the kids were between 9 and 14 years old, through 2012, when most participants were in their mid-to-late 20s.

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Cesarean births have been linked with offspring obesity and researchers suggest the risk should be considered when a decision is being made about the procedure, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.
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Thursday, 08 Sep 2016 04:00 PM
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