C-sections and gut bacteria increase risk of childhood obesity


New CHILD Study research has found that overweight and obese women are more likely to have children who are overweight or obese by three years of age—and that bacteria in the gut may be partially to blame.

“We know that maternal overweight is linked to overweight in children,” said Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, the University of Alberta investigator who led the study. “What our study showed is that both the type of infant delivery—vaginal birth versus cesarean section birth—and changes in gut bacteria are also involved.”

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that when an overweight woman delivered vaginally, the risk of overweight in her child was three times higher than normal. But the risk was five times higher than normal when the woman delivered via cesarean section (C-section). This association persisted even after adjustment for multiple other factors.

Press release