Young children who are given repeated courses of antibiotics are at greater risk than those who use fewer drugs of becoming obese, US researchers say.
The University of Pennsylvania report found children who had had four or more courses by the age of 2 were at a 10% higher risk of being obese.
“It would be a concern if parents took from this that they ought to be reluctant to allow antibiotic use in their children”
US researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Bloomberg School of Public Health reviewed the health records of more than 64,500 American children between 2001 and 2013 who had gained a significant amount of weight due to antibiotic use.
Almost 70% of them had been prescribed two courses of antibiotics by the time they were 24 months old.
And the type of antibiotics they were prescribed appeared to make a difference as well. Those given a broad-spectrum antibiotic – that can kill several types of bacteria indiscriminately were more likely to have a higher body mass.
Prof. Charles Bailey at the University of Pennsylvania, said: “We think after antibiotics some of the normal bacteria in our gut that are more efficient at nudging our weight in the right direction may be killed off and bacteria that nudge the metabolism in the wrong direction may be more active.”
69 Percent of Kids Exposed to Antibiotics Before Age 2. Exposure Raises Obesity Risk!
And researchers say the study highlights that over prescribing inappropriate antibiotics could have a negative impact on child growth.
Prof Nigel Brown, president of the Society for General Microbiology in the UK, said: “This study adds further evidence that the use of antibiotics early in life has a role to play in obesity.
“While antibiotic use is only one factor that may predispose children to be obese, the study emphasizes the importance of rapid diagnostic tests that allow precise targeting of antibiotics, which will kill the disease-causing bacteria and cause minimum disruption to the normal gut flora.”
Dr. Graham Brudge, at the University of Southampton, said: “The design of the study did not allow testing as to whether antibiotic use during infancy causes obesity in childhood, only that there may be an association.
“It would be a concern if parents took from this that they ought to be reluctant to allow antibiotic use in their children.
Childhood Obesity Linked To Antibiotics Affect Over 64,500 American