Babies born by caesarean section are more likely to get diabetes, according to research. And scientists believe exposure to hospital bacteria may be a factor.
They found that Caesarean tots have around a 20 per cent increased chance of becoming insulin-dependent diabetics in childhood than those born naturally.
More than one in five births in Britain are by Caesarean section.
The rate is significantly higher than the 15 per cent recommended by the World Health Organization.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Childhood infections, along with genetics, are already known to play an important role in the development of it.
The Caesarean discovery emerged from analysis of the results of 20 studies on type 1 diabetes in kids by a team at Queen’s University in Belfast.
The increased risk could not be explained by other factors such as birth weight, mother’s age, order of birth, pregnancy-related diabetes or whether or not a baby was breast fed.
Dr Chris Cardwell, who led the research, said: "This study shows a consistent 20 per cent increase in the risk of type 1 diabetes.
"It’s important to stress the reason for this is not understood, although it is possible the Caesarean itself is responsible, perhaps because babies are exposed to bacteria originating from the hospital environment rather than to maternal bacteria."
Dr Iain Frame, of the charity Diabetes UK, said women with a choice of having a Caesarean "may wish to take this risk into consideration".
He added: "The findings indicate that the way a baby is delivered could affect how likely it is to develop this condition later in life.
DID YOU KNOW:
Cardiovascular Disease Remains the Nations No. 1 Killer-33% of all Americans live with one or more types of CVD: According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease claimed nearly 900,000 lives (by 2005 estimates) which means every day of the year 2400 CVD-related deaths occur. That’s more than the lives claimed by Cancer, HIV/AIDS, and accidents combined. Eighty million Americans (nearly 1 in 3 people in this country) have not just one but several types of cardiovascular disease, which includes hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and diabetes. Complications of cardiovascular diseases contributes to more than 80 million doctor visits a year and 6 million hospitalizations.
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