Child obesity and cesarian section link suggested by new study

(Photo: Flickr/kton250)

A new study has established a potential link between children who are born by cesarean section and their likelihood of being obese.

According to the study published the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers say that more than 15 percent of children studied who were born via c-section were obese by age 3, while only 7.5 percent of the babies delivered vaginally were obese at that age.

The numbers held up, the researchers said, when they also factored in the mother's body mass index and the baby's weight at birth.

"Almost one in three children are delivered by C-section in the U.S., and if cesarean delivery is a risk factor for obesity, this would be an important reason to avoid them if they aren 't necessary," Dr. Susanna Huh, the survey's lead author, told ABC News.

Researchers aren't exactly sure what leads to this trend, but they theorize it could be due to healthy bacteria passed through during vaginal delivery or insulin resistance.

Linda Harmon, the executive director for Lamaze International, says women shouldn't automatically assume that c-sections are easier.

"I think some people do and don't realize the long term and short term potential risks there are for mom and baby," Harmon said.

However, some doctors have called the results of the study "inconceivable" and remind women that in many cases, a cesarian section delivery may be necessary for medical reasons.