The Link between Caesarean Birth and Obesity
Humans consume 5.22 million kilograms of food every minute. This food replenishes the energy people spend on activities such as working, exercising, thinking, and even sleeping. In other words, every human activity requires a certain degree of energy and as such, people will always eat to get energy. Unfortunately, eating too much or eating certain kinds of foods is dangerous for your health. Currently, the number of overweight adults in the world stands at 1.9 billion with 600 million of them being obese. Sadly, 41 million kids also suffer from being overweight. A new study sheds light on how some people are likely to become obese as they progress in life.
Caesarean birth and obesity
Medical researchers from the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University were behind this new study. The research involved the collection and analysis of data spanning over 16 years. The data included pertinent information from 22,000 youths. These young adults answered questions at an interval of one or two years from 1996 to 2012. The team of researchers looked into the BMI i.e. Body Mass Index of the youths over this time. They also determined whether the births of these young adults were through normal deliveries or caesarean section. JAMA Pediatrics published these findings on Tuesday, 6 September 2016.
The study showed that kids born through caesarean section were 15% more likely to suffer from obesity than those born normally through a vaginal birth. The researchers also noted that this risk of obesity remains as the child gets older i.e. it persists in adulthood. More specifically, the team at Harvard University found that those born through caesarean delivery are 64% more likely to develop obesity than their fellow siblings born through vaginal birth are.
The researchers also looked at two groups of people. The first group was individuals born via vaginal birth when their mother had previously given birth via caesarean delivery. The second group was people born via caesarean when their mothers had previously given birth via caesarean delivery. The first group was 31% less likely to develop obesity than the second group.
The rate of caesarean deliveries
Doctors around the world perform 23 million caesarean deliveries. It usually takes about 45 minutes for the doctor to perform a caesarean section. The global average for this type of delivery vis-a-vis normal deliveries is 10 to 15%. Given this average, the rates of caesarean deliveries in the US are very high. More specifically, the country performs 1.3 million caesarean sections every year representing 33% of all the deliveries in the US.