Saturday, April 30, 2011

You Are What You Eat or How You Were Born?

 Could the way you were born REALLY influence your BMI?

Let me first caveat this post with the fact that I have not read the full text of this new study from Brazil, which states in its conclusion that: "We hypothesize that increasing rates of cesarean delivery may play a role in the obesity epidemic worldwide."

It reminds me of an American study reported by the BBC back in August 2005 - "C-section 'baby teeth decay risk'", in which a connection was made between children with tooth decay and being born by cesarean. Lead researcher Dr Yihong Li was quoted as saying, "C-section babies have less bacterial exposure at birth, and therefore less resistance."

However, "he also pointed out that the C-section mothers in the study also had higher levels of tooth decay, a history of sexually transmitted infections and low family income, all of which could have contributed to the findings."

The Real Risk Factors

So the children worst affected by tooth decay also had mothers with tooth decay, and came from low income homes, where - in a country with an ever-increasing rate of obesity - we know that high fat and high sugar meals are often given to children.

And now we have a new study from Brazil (lead researcher Helena AS Goldani) that begins, "Obesity is epidemic worldwide, and increases in cesarean delivery rates have occurred in parallel", and then sets out its objective to "determine whether cesarean delivery is a risk factor for obesity in adulthood".

It's incredible - I mean, what will researchers try and blame the cesarean for next?

Cesareans Are Not Born Equal

As I say, I haven't read the full details of this study, so perhaps the fact that the obesity rate in adults born by cesarean was 15.2% compared with the 10.4% of those born by vaginal delivery IS conclusive of such a connection. But I genuinely doubt it.

Aside form anything else, there seems to be no distinction (as is often the case in cesarean studies) between different cesarean TYPES - planned versus emergency for example.

This type of research and the headlines it creates can often prove rather unhelpful in the cesarean debate.

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