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Thursday 27th October 2016

C-sections not to blame for fat children

30th January 2012

Contrary to previous research, children born by Caesarean section (C-section) are not more likely to be obese than children born vaginally, according to a recent Brazilian study.


The researchers found that there was no link between children who had obesity and children who had C-sections, although such children did seem to weigh more.

Nevertheless, the additional weight did not boil down to the C-section itself.

Study author Fernando Barros, of the Catholic University of Pelotas, said he and his colleagues had suspected the original result might have been incorrect.

He said that the previous study's authors did not adjust for all of the different risk factors that affect the weight of children.

In Brazil, more than half of the babies born in 2009 were not born vaginally, but by C-section.

The number of babies born by C-section is also on the rise in other countries, including the US, where it has passed 30%.

For the study, the researchers made use of data on three groups of Brazilians from the early 1980s, the early 1990s, and 2004.

The researchers also made contact with all of the children from the previous studies.

While children born by C-section were more likely to have a higher birth weight, such differences were not important statistically.

Family income, birth weight, schooling, and the habits of the mothers in the study, all had a much bigger impact on the babies' likelihood of developing into obese children.

David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life Clinic at Children's Hospital in Boston in the US, who was not involved in the study, said that the study result could be explained simply by considering that obese women required more Caesarean sections than lean women.

As such, the C-section itself was not responsible for the increase in weight, but rather things such as the diets of pregnant women, and whether or not the mothers in the study had diabetes.

Previously, other researchers had hypothesized that C-section babies were exposed to less bacteria in the womb, since these babies did not pass through the birth canal of their mothers.

In such a case, C-section babies would develop differently as far as the immune system was concerned, not being exposed to certain types of beneficial bacteria.

Barros said that, while he would not go so far as to totally dismiss those hypotheses, and while he found them interesting, he could not find any data that would confirm such a theory.


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