A just concluded US study showed that children born by cesarean delivery might be at a higher risk of becoming obese, especially within families, when compared to their siblings born via vaginal birth.
Jorge Chavarro, Lead Author, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard University, said on Wednesday in Washington that cesarean deliveries are without a doubt a necessary and lifesaving procedure in many cases.
He, however, said cesareans also have some known risks to the mother and the newborn.
Chavarro said research has showed that risk of obesity in the offspring could be another factor to consider.
He noted that the new analysis, published in the US journal, JAMA Pediatrics, included 16 years’ worth of data from more than 22,000 young adults in the Growing Up Today Study.
Chavarro explained that participants were made to answer survey questions every year or two years from 1996 to 2012.
He said with the results compared with vaginal birth, cesarean delivery was associated with a 15 per cent increase in the risk of obesity in children after adjusting for mitigating factors.
The epidemiologist said within families, children born by cesarean were 64 per cent more likely to be obese than their siblings born by vaginal delivery.
Chavarro said the study also showed that children born by vaginal birth to women who had had a previous cesarean delivery were 31 per cent less likely to be obese compared with those children born to women with repeated cesarean deliveries.
He said: “Findings show a dramatic difference in obesity risk between those born via cesarean and their siblings born through vaginal delivery- provide very compelling evidence that the association between cesarean birth and childhood obesity is real.
“That’s because, in the case of siblings, many of the factors that could potentially be playing a role in obesity risk, including genetics, would be largely the same for each sibling except for the type of delivery.”