C-section kids prone to obesity

The obesity epidemic could be partly driven by rising rates of surgical deliveries, although the reasons for this are unclear, the Brazilian study suggested.

Lack of exposure to beneficial bacteria in the birth canal could explain the link, said the researchers.

However, they believe, the children of fatter mothers are also more likely to have weight problems, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

Given that obesity in pregnancy is a risk factor that leads to more caesarean section births, it may be that this relationship between the weight of mother and child explains the findings, the researchers said.

In the study, a team at the Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre looked at obesity rates in 2,000 people aged 23 to 25. They found 15 per cent of those delivered by caesarean were obese compared with 10 per cent of those born naturally.

They analysed a number of factors that might explain the connection, including heavier birthweight, income and education levels, because women with more qualifications had a higher caesarean rate. But even after accounting for these factors, being born by caesarean was linked to a 58 per cent increase in the risk of obesity in adulthood.

According to Dr Helena Goldani, who led the research, the findings did not prove a causal link between surgical deliveries and weight problems.

However, she explained that as infants born surgically are not exposed to beneficial bacteria in the birth canal, they might take longer to accumulate good bugs which affect the metabolism. Obese adults tend to have fewer of these friendly bacteria in their digestive tract than normal-weight people.

The theory is that having fewer good intestinal bugs leads to the body burning fewer calories and storing more of them as fat.

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