Monday, May 28, 2012

The world's news gorged on obesity hypothesis

For the record, recent research suggesting (not proving) a link between cesarean-born children and obesity in pre-school children concluded that those "delivered by caesarean section may be at increased risk of childhood obesity". 

Yet not only has this study (which found no causal link with ANY c-section type, much less maternal request in healthy pregnancies - despite the authors' statements in reports that the findings might "provide an important rationale to avoid non-medically indicated caesarean section") been reported by virtually every major news service, a large number have failed to include the words "may be".

Even TIME magazine for example wrote, "babies born by c-section are twice as likely to be obese by age 3", which is not strictly true.

Yes, women need to be fully informed of planned c-section risks, but they should be relevant and proven, not just a hypothesis born of mixed cesarean data. Please...


Anonymous said...

Really pleased that you've confirm my suspicion about the conclusion of the study and the media reporting of it.

I take it, that the study was done on all women and no distinction was made between EMCS and ELCS let alone maternal request?

Sounds like there could be some bad science going on. Cause or effect?

Even though they made adjustments for the mother's BMI and birth weight, there are a billion other things they haven't looked at and adjusted for. For example if there is evidence to suggest that BMI of women is very ineffective as a tool for finding out if women are truly overweight or not, then even women who are in the normal range, may not be as healthy or as fit as their BMI might suggest. Surely testing fitness levels might be a better way to compare and make adjustments for?

When I first saw the reports I found it quiet worrying, and I've tried to look at the quality of the study, but haven't been able to find much information about it. It does seem like unnecessary scaremongering about something that even the reports authors seem not be able to explain nor offer much in the way of explanation apart from more theories.

cesarean debate said...

Sorry to only reply now, but I wanted to wait until my letter in the BMJ was published as it addresses the questions you ask.
Here is a link to what I wrote:
I hope that helps, and thank you for your comment.
Best wishes,