Caesarean birth ‘doubles risk of obesity as child’

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babies delivered by caesarean section could face double the risk of being obese as children, research claims today.

Experts in the United States say differences in gut bacteria acquired at birth may account for the differences which saw 16 per cent of children obese by the age of three – double the number born conventionally.

Delivery by caesarean section has already been linked to an increased risk of childhood asthma and allergies.

A separate study by doctors in Southampton today concludes pregnant women lacking vitamin D could have fatter children. They found children of women with low levels of the vitamin were leaner at birth but by the age of six they were up to eight per cent fatter.

Women are recommended to take additional vitamin D during pregnancy, but the advice is not always followed.