The new study led by Dr Helena Goldani from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre is controversial for sure. The research team looked at 2,000 people between the ages of 23 and 25. Of the study subjects, 15 percent of those who were born by c-section were obese. Only 10 percent of those delivered vaginally were obese, in comparison. After making allowances for other factors that could impact obesity levels, like income levels, higher birth weights, and education (apparently, more highly educated moms had higher c-section rates), the study team still reached the conclusion that c-section babies were 58 percent more likely to be obese.
Even the study's authors agree that the increase in obesity could possibly be explained by other factors. If the findings are indeed correct and there is a direct link between being born by c-section and becoming obese, what on earth could explain this? Apparently, it might be due to a lack of good bacteria babies are normally exposed to while they are moving through the birth canal during labor and delivery. These bacteria could have an impact on the baby's metabolism. Obese adults, like c-section babies, were found to have lesser amounts of these bacteria than others. Interesting stuff! Both the high rate of c-sections and the obesity rate are often described as epidemic in the media. The notion that both could be linked is both fascinating and offensive to those who have been affected by either. Researchers from around the world agree that further research is needed into this topic.