Canadian researchers have determined that babies born by way of a cesearean section are more likely to experience obesity when they reach toddlerhood that those via vaginal birth.
The findings, which relied on examining bacteria from an infant's abdomen, also determined the odds between the two birthing procedures. C-section babies, according to the study conducted at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, were five times more likely to be overweight by the time they reached the age of three. The study, after examining 935 mother-baby tandems, also confirmed previous findings that concluded babies with overweight mothers would also likely become obese.
The experiments involved scientists digging through baby stool and processing that matter, and found that a higher level of Lachnospiraceae bacteria was evident in C-section newborns. The results were consistent with findings in babies born to obese mothers, leading researchers to believe that the bacterial strain might also have an effect on the relationship between the weights of both mother and child experiencing different birthing procedures.
Previous research determining relationships between obesity and birthing methods have been inconsistent. A U.S. study in 2017, that tested 160 mother-child pairs couldn't find a difference in infant bacteria. However, a larger experiment a year earlier, that examined more than 22,000 subjects discovered that 64 percent of C-section babies were 15 percent more likely to become overweight. In cases involving mothers, who had delivered children using both methods, C-section siblings were 64 percent more likely to have weight issues than those born vaginally.
Despite the historic variances, researchers are concerned the findings add to the plight of childhood obesity. Recent U.S. data has demonstrated that while childhood obesity rates are starting to decline, it's still considered to be an epidemic, at 18. 5 percent in the 2-19 age demographic.
Following a spike in obesity rates, recent declines have been attributed to the increased availability of nutritious food and beverages in schools and community outlets, an option that's vulnerable, considering its reliance on government funding.
That said, a reported 91 percent of children still eat poorly, with less than half of them undertaking an hour of required physical activity daily. As well, roughly two-thirds of children drink at least one sugar-heavy beverage a day, while a quarter of high school student watch at least three hours of television daily. It also hasn't helped that schools have also decreased periods dedicated to recess.