Does cesarean section increase the risk of obesity in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood?

From: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Journal rating:
rating: 98%
Study Quality:
rating: 55%

Overall Reliability

Article Quality:
rating: 25%
rating: 75%


  • 3 studies including 15,394 c-sections


  • The paper is a systematic review / meta analysis of all relevant trials.
  • This means that the data from all similar trials has been grouped to form an overall outcome.


  • After adjustment for covariates (education, family income, maternal weight), the levels of obesity between c-section and natural births was not significantly different for men or women.
  • The only exception was an association for 4-y-old boys in a 1993 study, which was not observed in the other 2 cohorts or for girls.
  • In these 3 birth cohorts, c-sections do not seem to lead to an important increased risk of obesity during childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.


  • No (without confidence)


Editors Notes

  • Studies have suggested that children born by c-section could have an increased risk later in life of diseases such as atopy and allergies, asthma, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes.
  • The main explanation for the possible increased risk is that the lack of contact at birth with maternal vaginal and intestinal flora would render these children more susceptible later in life to a number of diseases due to the changes in the development of the immune system