Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Giving your child antibiotics before 2 'increases their risk of being obese'
Giving children antibiotics before they are two years old, increases the risk they will become obese, experts have warned.
Three of four courses of the drugs in their early years is linked to childhood obesity, a new study conducted by a team at the universities of Colorado and Pennsylvania concluded.
Study author Dr Frank Irving Scott said: 'Antibiotics have been used to promote weight gain in livestock for several decades, and our research confirms that antibiotics have the same effects on humans.
'Our results do not imply that antibiotics should not be used when necessary, but rather encourage both doctors and parents to think twice about antibiotic usage in infants in the absence of well-established indications.'
The team of scientists performed a large cohort study in the UK to assess the link between antibiotic exposure before age two and obesity at age four.
They found that children with antibiotic exposure had a 1.2 per cent absolute – and 25 per cent relative – increase in the risk of early childhood obesity.
That risk was strengthened by repeat exposure to antibiotics.
Dr Scott said: '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.'
Antibiotics are prescribed in the US during an estimated 49 million pediatric outpatient visits each year.