People are talking about: Obesity in children, older fathers and mental illness

Published on Saturday, 8 March 2014 16:47 - Written by From Staff Reports

Births by caesarian section linked to an increased risk of obesity. A review of studies published in PLOS One found that babies born via a caesarian section were more likely to be obese later in life. Analyzing more than 142,000 births, the study showed that C-section babies were 26 percent more likely to be overweight and 22 percent more likely to be obese than babies delivered vaginally. Having a body mass index greater than 25 is considered overweight, while a BMI greater than 30 indicates obesity.

Obesity rates in children improve, worsen in older women. Health professionals received a glimmer of hope last week as obesity rates have declined sharply among 2- to 5-year-olds. According to a report published in JAMA, obesity rates in that age group went from 14 percent in 2003 to 8 percent in 2012. During the same period, 6-to 11-year-olds saw a slight decrease, from 18.8 percent to 17.7 percent. However, overall, childhood obesity remained relatively flat, at 17 percent. In addition, youth ages 12 to 19 obesity rates increased from 17.4 percent to 20.5 percent from 2003 to 2012. Women older than 60 had an increase in obesity rates, going from 31.5 percent to 38.1 percent. Minority population also saw no improvement in obesity rates.

Mental illness risk increased among children who have older fathers. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that the paternal age at childbearing may increase the child’s risk of autism spectrum disorder by three to four times. Researchers analyzed birth records of children born in Sweden between 1973 and 2001.

In addition, children born to older dads — more than 45 years old — were 25 times more likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder and 13 times more likely to have attention deficit disorder.

Children born to older fathers also were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide and to become substance abusers, according to the study.