Antibiotic use in under-twos could increase obesity risk

23 March 2016

A new study has highlighted the potential influence of antibiotic use in infants on lifelong obesity risk.

Research carried out by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and published in the journal Gastroenterology showed that the administration of three or more courses of antibiotics prior to a child's second birthday could raise their likelihood of obesity later in life.

The findings revealed that children who underwent early antibiotic exposure have a 1.2 per cent absolute and 25 per cent relative increase in their risk of developing early childhood obesity.

Assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and study author Frank Irving Scott stated: "Our work supports the theory that antibiotics may progressively alter the composition and function of the gut microbiome, thereby predisposing children to obesity as is seen in livestock and animal models."

As a result, the study suggests that antibiotic use in very young children should only be carried out in cases where the need is acute and potentially life-threatening.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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