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C-sections may predispose infants to childhood obesity

Jenny Decker RN's picture

With a major public health concern of increasing numbers of obesity a study shows that C-sections may predispose infants to childhood obesity.

The study originated at the Children’s Hospital of Bostonand was published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.Participants were gathered from eight outpatient multi-specialty practices in the Boston, Massachusetts area from the years 1999 to 2002. Body composition of 1255 children was gathered when a child turned three years old. BMI score and skinfolds were the measurements which the researchers used to gather their information to determine whether there was a higher risk for childhood obesity in children who were born by C- section.

Of the 1255 children in the study, 284 of them were C-section babies. It was found that a significant 15.7 percent of these 284 children were obese as toddlers versus 7.5 percent of babies born vaginally. This indicates that there is a correlation between C-sections and risk for childhood obesity.

More studies are most definitely needed in this area. The research only indicates that childhood obesity may be related for some reason, but it is not known how or if it is only a coincidence. However, research such as this is important because it shows where more research may be needed. It is important to study this further, especially with the alarmingly high obesity rates currently in the US and those expected in the next ten to twenty years.

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If there is more than just coincidence involved in C-sections and the risk of childhood obesity, then the mechanisms that control that must be found and investigated. With this knowledge, there is a possibility that one of the causes of childhood obesity can be addressed with added interventions.

Obesity can pose significant health risks, including Diabetes Mellitus Type II. This disease is becoming more and more common in children, because of added weight. Mainly because of eating habits and lack of activity, the pancreas is unable to keep up and thus blood sugars get high. With diabetes then comes heart disease. With heart disease comes risk of stroke, alarming risks for children and adults alike.

With diets high in fat and cholesterol, eating habits can change. Eating at fast food restaurants can be stopped or decreased. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables as a mainstay of the diet and other fresh foods yields a healthy happy diet for children and everyone else as well. It keeps cholesterol and fat down keeping the pancreas functioning at an optimum level, and thus keeping blood sugars at normal rates.

Encouraging your children to get up and go outside for some fun play for an hour is one way to incorporate activity into the day. Exercise gives energy and decreases anxiety. Schools can also be active in encouraging activity by providing physical education classes and times during the day in which walking and other activities can be participated in. Finding a favorite activity such as a sport or dancing encourages children to not only get active, but to remain active throughout their lives.

It is not just up to scientists to keep a nation healthy. It is up to the people to make wise choices. It is everyone’s responsibility. With these lifestyle changes, children may be able to avoid obesity during their childhood years and their many years to come. It will be interesting to find out if there is indeed a mechanism between C-sections and the increased risk for those babies to develop childhood obesity.