While it’s true, more women today are opting for C-sections than in previous generations, they may be contributing to their child’s risk of obesity. A new study reports babies born via Caesarean section are twice as likely to become obese by age 3 as infants delivered vaginally. If you have no specific medical need for a C-section, choosing one may do more harm than good.
This is an important element for women to consider if they are contemplating an “elective” C-section for convenience. However, if a section is medically necessary, the increased risk of obesity is not enough to override the need for surgery.
The study included more than 1,250 mother-child pairs admitted to the Massachusetts hospital between 1999 and 2002. Twenty-five percent of babies were delivered by C-section, the rest were delivered vaginally. The babies were measured at birth, 6 months and again at 3 years old.
Nearly 16 percent of children delivered via C-section were Obese by the age of 3, while only 7.5 percent of those delivered vaginally. Also, about 19 percent of the C-section kids were overweight compared to just less than 17 percent of the others.
As usual, further research is needed to confirm these findings. What is causing the increased risk is not quite clear, however, researchers and physicians believe that the different modes of delivery may influence the gut bacteria at birth. According to the researchers, the gut bacteria may influence obesity by affecting the calories and nutrients absorbed from the diet and may also stimulate cells in a way that boosts insulin resistance, inflammation and fat.
While C-sections may be associated with increased risk of obesity, it is not the cause of the obesity epidemic. We still need to focus on what we are feeding our children, regardless of mode of delivery.
What this study failed to consider is the types of foods these kids were being raised on and the amount of physical activity they did or did not participate in. It’s no secret that American children are getting heavier, but taking the responsibility away from the parents and placing blame on the way in which the mother gave birth is crippling our children even further.
With so many resources at our fingertips it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle forgetting what really needs to be taken care of – our health. Today’s generation wants everything now and that may not be the healthiest choice when it comes to our diet. Processed foods and fast food restaurants are filled with excess sugars, fat and calories contributing to our kids [and our own] expanding waistlines and increasing stress levels. While time and convenience rule over other considerations when making a decision, it’s usually not the right choice. Taking the time to prepare a nutritious meal for you and your family will get you further in all aspects of your life.
Whether or not you deliver your baby via C-section, we as parents need to teach our children how to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat right from day 1. Starting early with your kids will empower them to be in charge of their own weight and health related destiny providing them with the tools to keep them out of risk of becoming overweight or obese as an adult. If you’re unsure of what to do, start by introducing nutritious foods early and focus on making food fun. Choose fruits and vegetables from all colors of the rainbow and get your kids involved in planning the weekly menu, grocery shopping and preparing foods. If your kids are having fun with food their mind will be open to eating [and liking] a wider variety of nutritious options.