News / USA

Study: C-Section Babies Face High Obesity Risk

Maria Iozia holds newborn son Dio Anthony Flore, Queens, New York, 2007 (file photo).
Maria Iozia holds newborn son Dio Anthony Flore, Queens, New York, 2007 (file photo).
TEXT SIZE - +
Jessica Berman
WASHINGTON - A new study has found that babies born by Caesarean section are twice as likely to become obese by the age of three as newborns delivered vaginally, and authors of the report say women who plan to deliver their babies via C-section because it is more convenient might want to reconsider their options.

The study, conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital in Boston, monitored 1,250 women from before their 22nd week of pregnancy until they delivered their babies at hospitals in Massachusetts between 1999 and 2002.

Twenty-five percent of the babies were delivered by Caesarean section and the rest were born vaginally.

Height and weight of each baby was taken at three months of age and again at three years of age. Researchers found that by the third year, 16 percent of the C-section toddlers were obese, compared to 7.5 percent of those born vaginally. Differences in the children's birth weights did not appear to be a factor.

Researchers also found that three-year-olds born by C-section also had a higher skinfold thickness, a measurement of body fat. Although motherhood obesity is a known risk factor for overweight children, researchers said this finding was consistent regardless of the mother's weight.

According to Dr. Amos Grunebaum, director of obstetrics and chief of labor and delivery at the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, it is important to tell mothers who do not need a C-section for medical reasons of the obesity findings and other risks associated with surgical delivery.
 
"We already know that if you do Caesarean-section, especially when there's no medical indication, there's an increased risk of babies being admitted to the intensive care unit for breathing issues," he said, adding that there are a number of legitimate reasons for a C-section, including babies who are positioned buttocks or feet first in the birth canal, and babies in distress or whose births are not progressing normally.

The Massachusetts researchers have speculated that obesity may be influenced by bacteria in a newborn's gut, which could be different in C-section babies than in vaginally-delivered babies. The microbes, they said, could affect how calories and nutrients are absorbed from food, promoting insulin resistance, inflammation and fat.

Another possibility, researchers said, is that hormones released during labor may influence the development of obesity, but that both possibilities need further study.

Grunebaum said he is likely to inform patients seeking an elective C-section of the additional risk of obesity.

"Whenever we do any procedure, we balance risks with benefits," he said. "And if risks outweigh benefits -- and in this case there are some risks such as obesity versus very little benefits -- then women should be aware of this."

A study on Caesarean section and the increased risk of childhood obesity is published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous from: usa
May 28, 2012 8:50 AM
Thirty percent of deliveries are c-section? Is this because the doctors want MORE MONEY?


by: Sue_Donym from: Seattle
May 25, 2012 8:54 PM
Or maybe babies delivered by C-Section are more likely to have obese mothers?


by: Autumn from: VA
May 25, 2012 3:53 PM
The problem may well not be the C-section at all, but rather the mentality of those parents who opt for surgery as the easy option when it isn't necessary. Some women, who very probably don't realize the harm in it, may just be scheduling Cs for convenience the same way people often give their kids junk food for convenience.
The grin and bear it childbirth ladies (especially the natural delivery ones) seem to me more likely to weather the odd tantrum rather than give in to buying the latest ChocoFruity Diabetes Pops for little Bobby.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid