Individuals born by cesarean delivery were 15% more likely to become obese as children than individuals born by vaginal birth — and the increased risk may persist through adulthood, according to a large new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In addition, individuals born via cesarean delivery were 64% more likely to be obese than their siblings born by vaginal birth.
“I think that our findings — particularly those that show a dramatic difference in obesity risk between those born via cesarean and their siblings born through vaginal delivery — provide very compelling evidence that the association between cesarean birth and childhood obesity is real,” said Chavarro. “That’s because, in the case of siblings, many of the factors that could potentially be playing a role in obesity risk, including genetics, would be largely the same for each sibling — except for the type of delivery.”