Birth by Caesarean Section and Prevalence of Risk Factors for Non-Communicable Diseases in Young Adults: A Birth Cohort Study

Bernardo L. Horta, Denise P. Gigante, Rosangela C. Lima, Fernando C. Barros, Cesar G. Victora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background:Conflicting findings on the risk of obesity among subjects born by caesarean section have been published. Caesarean section should also increase the risk of obesity related cardiovascular risk factors if type of delivery is associated with obesity later in life. This study was aimed at assessing the effect of type of delivery on metabolic cardiovascular risk factors in early adulthood.Methodology and Principal Findings:In 1982, maternity hospitals in Pelotas, southern Brazil, were visited and those livebirths whose family lived in the urban area of the city have been followed. In 2000, when male subjects undertook the Army entrance examination (n=2200), fat mass and fat free mass were estimated through bioimpedance. In 2004-2005, we attempted to follow the whole cohort (n=4297), and the following outcomes were studied: blood pressure; HDL cholesterol; triglycerides; random blood glucose, C-reactive protein, waist circumference and body mass index. The estimates were adjusted for the following confounders: family income at birth; maternal schooling; household assets index in childhood; maternal skin color; birth order; maternal age; maternal prepregnancy weight; maternal height; maternal smoking during pregnancy; birthweight and family income at early adulthood.Results:In the crude analyses, blood pressure (systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure) and body mass index were higher among subjects who were delivered through caesarean section. After controlling for confounders, systolic blood pressure was 1.15 mmHg (95% confidence interval: 0.05; 2.25) higher among subjects delivered by caesarean section, and BMI 0.40 kg/m2 (95% confidence interval: 0.08; 0.71). After controlling for BMI the effect on systolic blood pressure dropped to 0.60 mmHg (95% confidence interval: -0.47; 1.67). Fat mass at 18 years of age was also higher among subjects born by caesarean section.Conclusion:Caesarean section was associated with a small increased in systolic blood pressure, body mass index and fat mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere74301
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 9 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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