(NaturalNews) Incidences of childhood obesity have skyrocketed over the last couple of decades, and factors such as processed foods and limited exercise play a big role in it. However, an interesting contemporary study by researchers at the Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts suggests that there is an additional reason for this worrying trend: the continued rise of births by cesarean sections, or ‘c-sections.’
The researchers, whose study was conducted in 2012 and published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, monitored the health of 1,255 pairs of mothers and children between 1999 and 2002. Each mother had voluntarily joined the study before 22 weeks of pregnancy, and their babies were measured and weighed once after birth, at six months, and then at three years.
The study found that the babies that were delivered by c-section (of which there were 284, or 22.6 percent of the total) were twice as likely to suffer from obesity by the age of three than those that were delivered vaginally. They also suffered noticeably higher BMI and skinfold thickness measurements.
The study also found that the mothers that delivered their babies via c-sections tended to be heavier and less inclined to breastfeed their babies than mothers that delivered naturally. While this could explain the disparity in body weight between the two groups of babies, the researchers believe that the difference between the composition of gut bacteria acquired at birth between the two delivery methods is also a significant contributing factor.
“An association between caesarean birth and increased risk of childhood obesity would provide an important rationale to avoid non-medically indicated caesarean section,” concluded the study authors.
According to statistics, approximately 33 percent of today’s mothers – one in three – now deliver their babies via c-sections in the United States, compared to 4.5 percent in 1965. Dr. Mitchell Maiman, a gynecologist at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, believes that doctors are even more to blame for this trend than the mothers-to-be themselves:
“Everybody talks about how women are demanding C-sections, but this is almost a non-issue in this country,” he says. “The fact is, physicians are the ones demanding the C-sections for their own convenience and because of the medical-legal climate. If something goes wrong and they get sued, the question is always, ‘Why didn’t you do a C-section?'”
If you would like to learn more about the dangers of cesarean sections, check out this article.
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About the author:
Michael Ravensthorpe is an independent writer from the United Kingdom whose research interests include nutrition, alternative medicine, and bushcraft. He is the creator of the website Spiritfoods, through which he helps to promote the world’s healthiest foods, whether they be established superfruits such as mangosteen or lesser-known health supplements like blackstrap molasses.
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C-sections could double the risk of childhood obesity, study finds