Children Born by Elective C-Section at High Risk for ObesityObesity is an epidemic in the United States, there's no question of that. According to the CDC, 33.7% of all American adults are obese, meaning they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher and another 35.1% of adults in the U.S. have BMIs that fall within the overweight range of 25.0 to 29.9.

There is no easy answer why so many struggle with this very serious issue and researchers continue to unearth factors that may be contributing to this problem that perplexes individuals, families and health care providers. One of these risk-factors may be the manner in which a person is born.

A new study, published this month in JAMA Pediatrics, found that babies delivered via cesarean section are 15% more likely to become obese by age 9. The risk is even greater for babies whose mothers had no medical need for a C-section, with this group being 30% more likely to become obese than babies born vaginally.

The link between C-sections and obesity was present regardless of age, gender, or even maternal BMI.

The theory behind the link is this: when a newborn bypasses the birth canal they also miss out on exposure to microorganisms, an incredibly important step that is suspected to be a major part of creating a foundation of health in the human species.

Scientists have found that infants born vaginally have microbiomes with a greater variety of bacteria, including more probiotics and fewer pathogenic species like staphylococci, than C-section babies. Studies currently in progress are now looking at the long-term effects of swabbing C-section newborns with their mother's vaginal fluids shortly after birth.

The results of this study should be added to a growing list of possible risks associated with C-sections that should be seriously considered by women, and their health care providers, before electing to undergo a medically unnecessary cesarean section.