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Is the childhood obesity epidemic linked to c-sections?

Posted May 27 2013 12:00am
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Just over nine per cent of the children in the study were born by caesarean, and on average were two ounces lighter than those delivered naturally. But by the age of six weeks, those surgically delivered were consistently heavier than their naturally-born counterparts at almost all points - even when other factors such as their mother’s weight and whether they were breastfed were taken into account. The risk of obesity was particularly marked among children born to overweight mothers, the researchers said. In total, a third of all the three-year-olds in the study were overweight, while at the age of seven and 15 there was a 17 per cent chance of a child being obese. The research, published in the International Journal of Obesity, also highlighted the risks to women of undertaking a caesarean including increased chance of bowel or bladder injuries as well as future pregnancy complications.   New research has confirmed older studies about the benefit of probiotics in the birth canal .  There is an interesting connection between method of birth and children’s weight.

I’ve always felt that childhood obesity was largely a result of diet, genetics, and sedentary lifestyle.   Junk food, fast food, and processed food coupled with tv watching and lack of physical exercise in school has led to overweight children.  When I see overweight children, I have great empathy, as I think of the struggles they will face their whole lives with weight gain and health.

Yet, there may be more to childhood obesity than food and exercise, which are certainly very important for healthy living.   Other studies have found a link between childhood obesity and plastic chemicals , like BPA, as well as tonsillectomies performed in early childhood .

C-sections pose many risks for mother and child, especially when not medically necessary.  Apparently, the risks continue beyond birth.

The Daily Mail reports:

After examining the health records of more than 10,000 British children, researchers found that surgically delivered 11-year-olds were 83 per cent more likely to be overweight compared to those born naturally…

The findings suggests the obesity epidemic could in part be driven by increasing rates of caesareans. The rate in England stands at one in four births, which totals more than 160,000 a year…

‘There may be long-term consequences [of caesareans] to children that we don’t know about,’ said lead researcher Dr Jan Blustein, from the New York University School of Medicine…

Just over nine per cent of the children in the study were born by caesarean, and on average were two ounces lighter than those delivered naturally.

But by the age of six weeks, those surgically delivered were consistently heavier than their naturally-born counterparts at almost all points – even when other factors such as their mother’s weight and whether they were breastfed were taken into account.

The risk of obesity was particularly marked among children born to overweight mothers, the researchers said.

In total, a third of all the three-year-olds in the study were overweight, while at the age of seven and 15 there was a 17 per cent chance of a child being obese.

The research, published in the International Journal of Obesity, also highlighted the risks to women of undertaking a caesarean including increased chance of bowel or bladder injuries as well as future pregnancy complications.

Overweight children usually have overweight parents, as they have similar lifestyles and genetics. Furthermore, overweight mothers are more likely to have c-sections, which may have affected the results.

Researchers believe this information is important for women to consider who are electing c-section surgical births.

Image:   fat boy on Bigstock

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