London Study: Babies Born Via C-Section More Likely To Be 'Obese' As Adults

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By Reissa Su | February 28, 2014 1:19 PM EST

Babies who were born via C-section were found to have an increased risk to become overweight or obese in their adult lives.

According to London researchers in a study published in Public Library of Science ONE, Cesarian babies were 22 percent more likely to be obese than natural birth babies using data from 38,000 individuals.   

Reuters
Newborn babies are pictured at a hospital in Hefei, Anhui province in this August 8, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

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Cesarian babies had 26 percent chance of being overweight based on their body mass index (BMI). UK scientists have warned mothers to be aware of the long-term consequences on their children's health.

Researchers also believed the effects of a Cesarian birth on a baby's genes and gut bacteria may be the factors driving the obesity trend. Prof. Neena Modi from the Imperial College of London said there may be good reasons mothers opt to give birth via C-section. A doctor may advise a Cesarian operation to save both the life of the child and the mother.

But Prof. Modi said health professionals should be able to understand the long-term outcomes to give the best advice to expectant mothers who are considering C-section. The recent study has shown babies born by C-section have the tendency to be overweight when they grow up as adults.

In England, one-third of births are via C-section and the rate has grown twice as many since 1990. Caesarian births are higher in some countries, including China with 60 percent of mothers opting for C-section. Half of the births in Brazil are assisted by surgery.

Previous research studies have linked Cesarian births to adverse outcomes in children such as asthma and insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes. The new study linking C-section to obesity was based on results taken from 15 different studies of 10 countries.

Researchers said the "meta-analysis" can help identify patterns or trends that may emerge from large data. Adults born via Cesarian were found to have a BMI greater by half a unit than those born by vaginal delivery.

BMI is a widely used measurement as it relates a person's weight and height. This also serves as an indicator if a person is overweight or clinically obese.

The authors of the study reported there is a strong link between Cesarian births and increased BMI resulting in obesity in adulthood.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Newborn babies are pictured at a hospital in Hefei, Anhui province in this August 8, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer/Files
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