C-section birth tied to later obesity
A study published in the journal PLoS One concluded that people born by C-section had a 22 percent higher chance of being obese later in life than those born naturally.
By analyzing 38,000 births, researchers found that for every 100 vaginal births, 60 adults would become overweight or obese sometime during their lifetime, and for every 100 born by C-section, the number rose to 65. They found that, on average, being born by C-section added half a point to a person’s body mass index.
Research points to two theories on how vaginal birth may guard against obesity. One is that the stress of a natural birth may alter the activity of genes in the baby. The other theory suggests that a vaginal birth exposes the baby to bacteria that colonize the gut, which may affect future weight.
The research did not take into account other factors that could contribute to a person’s risk of obesity, such as the weight of the mother having a C-section, which could also affect the child’s chances of being overweight later in life.